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Application checklist

Appendix 3 Other supporting information

Information Description

1. Adaptable and Accessible Accommodation Statement

Policy

Policies DES1 and HOU7 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 6.297

Placemaking and Urban Design SPG

Residential Design (Including Adaptable and Accessible Accommodation) SPG

 

Policy HOU7 of the Plan Strategy requires that all new homes should be designed in a flexible way to ensure that housing is adaptable throughout all stages of life, maximising the ability for occupants to remain in their homes and live independent lives for as long as possible. An Adaptable and Accessible Accommodation Statement sets out how this will be achieved.

When is it required?

An Adaptable and Accessible Accommodation Statement is required for all applications for new homes including dwellings, apartments and other forms of permanent accommodation.

In addition, for applications for 10 residential units or more, the Adaptable and Accessible Accommodation Statement shall incorporate a “Wheelchair Accessibility Statement”.

Guidance

An Adaptable and Accessible Accommodation Statement describes how the application proposal meets the following criteria. Where a criterion is not met, the statement shall provide justification as to why this is the case.

  • a) Parking has a firm surface and provides level or gently sloping access to the main entrance of the property;
  • b) Main entrances are sheltered from the weather;
  • c) Permanent living space or dining space is provided within or in addition to a kitchen at entrance level;
  • d) Accommodation provides an entrance level WC with space to provide an accessible shower in the future if required;
  • e) An accessible bathroom is provided on the same floor as the main bedroom; and
  • f) Glazing in the principal living space is sited to enable outlook when seated.

For applications for 10 residential units or more, a “Wheelchair Accessibility Statement” shall also be provided, which explains how the following criteria are met for at least 10 per cent of the units.

  • g) A wheelchair accessible environment is provided in accordance with the space standards for wheelchair housing set out in Appendix C of the Plan Strategy;
  • h) In-curtilage or designated car parking meets disabled parking standards;
  • i) Pathways are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair and have a firm surface, level or gently sloping surface;
  • j) Entrance hallway, kitchen, living, dining area, bathroom and a main bedroom have an unobstructed turning circle;
  • k) Entrances, doorways and halls have an appropriate width and length allow for wheelchair access;
  • l) Space is provided in the entrance area to enable storage of a second wheelchair;
  • m) Space is identified that is capable of accommodating a future lift accessed off circulation spaces on each floor;
  • n) Adequate built-in storage is provided; and
  • o)Private amenity space is level or gently sloping and should incorporate an area of suitable hard surfacing.

Where applicable, the adaptable and accessible features should be clearly shown on the drawings accompanying the application.

Further guidance is contained in the Residential Design (Including Adaptable and Accessible Accommodation) Supplementary Planning Guidance.

2. Affordable Housing Proposal Form

Policy

Policy HOU5 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Affordable Housing and Housing Mix SPG

Development Viability SPG

SPPS Para. 6.143

Policy HOU5 of the Plan Strategy requires residential sites of a certain size or number of units to provide a minimum of 20 per cent of the units as affordable housing. Affordable housing includes both social rented housing; intermediate housing for sale; and intermediate housing for rent.

An Affordable Housing Proposal Form provides information on how Policy HOU5 is addressed by the proposal.

When is it required?

An Affordable Housing Proposal Form is required for applications for sites greater than 0.1 hectares and/or containing 5 or more residential units. It is required for schemes for general housing including dwelling houses and apartments, mixed use developments, sub-divisions and conversions.

For the avoidance of doubt, an Affordable Housing Statement is not required for specialist housing including Purpose Built Managed Student Accommodation and residential institutions such as care homes, nursing homes and supported housing schemes.

Guidance

The Affordable Housing Proposal Form is provided at Appendix 1 of the Council’s Affordable Housing and Housing Mix Supplementary Planning Guidance. It should be completed and provided with all applications where Policy HOU5 applies.

The information in the Affordable Housing Proposal Form includes:

  • Details of the site and proposals
  • Information on the proposed housing mix include tenure, type and size
  • Demonstration of how the proposal meets key locational and design requirements
  • Summary of prior discussions with a Registered Housing Association (RHA)
  • Information on any Pre-Application Discussions with the Planning Service  

Further guidance is provided by the Council’s Affordable Housing and Housing Mix Supplementary Planning Guidance. The Development Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance may also be relevant depending on the circumstances of the case.

3. Air Quality Impact Assessment (AQIA)

Policy

Policy EN1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy 

SPPS Para. 4.11- 4.12, Annex A

Belfast Air Quality Action Plan 2015-2020

Air Quality Impact Assessment (AQIA) is a process for determining the significance of the impact of new development on ambient air quality, or determining the significance of the impact of local ambient air quality on new development. These impacts need to be quantified and evaluated in the context of existing air quality, air quality objectives or limits.

When is it required?

An AQIA may be required if a proposed development:

  • is to be located in an existing area of poor air quality such as in the case of an application for residential development;
  • will cause a significant increase in road traffic flows or changes the proximity to receptors, e.g. car parks, realigned roads, junctions etc;
  • introduces one or more substantial combustion processes, e.g. centralised boilers, generators, CHP plant or biomass, where there is a risk of impact at relevant receptors; or
  • gives rise to potentially unacceptable air pollution impacts (such as dust) at nearby sensitive locations during demolition or construction processes.

Guidance

In determining whether new development requires an AQIA, we will refer to best practice guidance such as Environmental Protection UK and the Institute of Air Quality Management, Land-use Planning & Development Control: Planning For Air Quality (January 2017)

Where an AQIA is required, it should be undertaken with reference to the Government’s local air quality management technical guidance - (LAQM.TG (16)) and associated air quality screening and assessment tools. Where necessary, the AQIA should also have regard to the requirements of the IAQM Guidance on the Assessment of Dust from Demolition and Construction. The AQIA may take the form of either a simple or detailed assessment but it must be sufficient to determine the significance of air quality impacts.  

Where the AQIA predicts that new development may give rise to, or experience a significant adverse air quality impact, the assessment should set out the measures to avoid, reduce and, where appropriate, offset the impact in order to ensure that relevant receptors are not exposed to pollution levels in excess of ambient air quality objectives or limits.

Information about current and historic ambient pollution levels, Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and the Council’s various air quality reports can be found at: www.airqualityni.co.uk

The Belfast City Council Air Quality Action Plan 2015 – 2020 can be found at: Air Quality Action Plan.  The Council is currently in the processing of developing a new Action Plan.

4. Archaeological Assessment

Policy

Policy BH5 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy 

SPPS Pars. 6.8-11 

An archaeological assessment normally entails a desk-based study, by a qualified archaeologist, of existing information including records of previous discoveries, historic maps or geophysical surveys.

When is it required?

Policy BH5 of the Plan Strategy requires developers to provide an archaeological assessment where the impact of a development proposal on important archaeological remains is unclear, or the relative importance of such remains is uncertain.

Guidance

Prospective developers need to take into account archaeological considerations and should deal with them from the beginning of the development management process. The needs of archaeology and development can often be reconciled, and potential conflict avoided or much reduced, if applicants discuss their proposals early. The first step is for applicants to consult the Department for Communities’ Historic environment map viewer for known archaeological sites and monuments. Further advice on archaeological requirements can be found on the Department for Communities’ website and its Historic Environment Division.

5. Archaeological Field Evaluation

Policy

Policy BH5 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Pars. 6.8-11.

An archaeological field evaluation involves ground surveys and limited and targeted licensed excavation which is quite distinct from full archaeological excavation. Evaluations of this kind help to define the importance, character and extent of the archaeological remains that may exist in the area of a proposed development, and thus indicate the weight which should be attached to their preservation. They may also provide information useful for identifying potential options for minimising or avoiding damage.

When is it required?

Policy BH5 of the Plan Strategy requires developers to provide an archaeological field evaluation where the impact of a development proposal on important archaeological remains is unclear, or the relative importance of such remains is uncertain.

Guidance

Prospective developers need to take into account archaeological considerations and should deal with them from the beginning of the development management process. The needs of archaeology and development can often be reconciled, and potential conflict avoided or much reduced, if applicants discuss their proposals early. The first step is for applicants to consult the Department for Communities’ Historic environment map viewer for known archaeological sites and monuments. Further advice on archaeological requirements can be found on the Department for Communities’ website and its Historic Environment Division.

6. Biodiversity Checklist

Policy

Policy NH1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Par. 6.168-198

The Biodiversity Checklist is a ‘step by step’ tool which should be used by applicants to help identify if a development proposal is likely to adversely affect any biodiversity and natural heritage interests and whether further ecological assessments/surveys are required.

When is it required?

The Biodiversity Checklist should be used for all applications where another biodiversity or ecological survey has not already been completed.

Guidance

The Biodiversity Checklist can be found on the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs website. The Department also provides standing advice on the development of land that may affect natural heritage assets

In establishing whether a biodiversity survey is needed, the applicant or agent is advised to seek independent advice from an ecologist or suitably qualified person.

7. Biodiversity Survey

Policy

Policy NH1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Par. 6.168-198

A Biodiversity Survey (or ecological or wildlife survey) assesses the specific impacts of development proposals on natural heritage, including designated sites and priority habitats; and protected and priority species.

When is it required?

A Biodiversity Survey is required where:

  • the need for a survey is identified as part of the completion of the Biodiversity Checklist (see above)
  • the proposal would impact or have the potential to impact on natural heritage, including designated sites and priority habitats; or protected and priority species.

Guidance

Standing advice on the development of land that may affect natural heritage assets can be found on the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs website

In establishing whether a biodiversity survey is needed, the applicant or agent is advised to seek independent advice from an ecologist or suitably qualified person.

8. Climate Change Statement

Policy

Policies ENV2, ENV3, ENV5, GB1 and TRE1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 3.13 and 6.137

Residential Design (Including Adaptable and Accessible Accommodation) Supplementary Planning Guidance

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) Supplementary Planning Guidance

 

The Plan Strategy seeks to address the important issue of climate change. A Climate Change Statement demonstrates how new development is sustainable, incorporating measures to mitigate environmental change and reduce Green House Gases.

When is it required?

A Climate Change Statement is required for all applications for new development (including conversion of building/s for alternative uses).

A separate Householder Design Statement is required for householder proposals* (e.g. domestic extensions, conservatories, garages, outbuildings and satellite dishes), which should incorporate climate change measures.

Guidance

A Climate Change Statement sets out how the application proposal:

  • Maximises opportunities to incorporate sustainable design features, such as grey water recycling, green roofs, maximizing use of recycled materials, orientating buildings to optimise solar gain and energy efficiency
  • Demonstrates the highest feasible and viable sustainability standards in the design, construction, operation and “end of life” phases of development in line with the ‘nearly zero carbon buildings’ strategy in the EU energy performance and building directive
  • Incorporates measures to adapt to environmental change, in order to support sustainable and enduring development, having regard to the criteria in Policy ENV3 of the Plan Strategy
  • Where appropriate, include Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems measures to manage surface water effectively on site, to reduce surface water run-off and to ensure flooding is not increased elsewhere, having regard to Policy ENV5 of the Plan Strategy.
  • Seeks to provide for additional tree planting appropriate to the nature, scale and location of the development.

Further guidance is provided by the Council’s Residential Design (Including Adaptable and Accessible Accommodation) and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems Supplementary Planning Guidance.

9. Community Cohesion and Good Relations Statement

Policy

Policies CGR1 and CGR2 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 4.17

Promoting good relations is key to improving the quality of life for everyone. A Community Cohesion and Good Relations Statement sets out how development proposals at interface locations have involved appropriate early engagement with communities and is supported.

When is it required?

A Community Cohesion and Good Relations Statement is required for applications for development at interface locations, in close proximity to peace infrastructure, or which would impact upon contested space.

For proposals for shared ‘meanwhile’ uses at interface locations, the Community Cohesion and Good Relations Statement shall also include a “Community Consultation Statement” that demonstrates how shared community engagement has been undertaken.

Guidance

A Community Cohesion and Good Relations Statement sets out how the application proposal addresses the following principles:

  • a) Affected communities have been involved from the outset and throughout the design process, with opportunities provided for cross-community conversations in a safe and inclusive environment;
  • b) Initiatives working towards the removal of peace infrastructure and territoriality in the physical environment are supported;
  • c) Infrastructure and other physical barriers are minimised, maximizing opportunities for future connectivity across peace infrastructure, creating permeable neighbourhoods;
  • d) Shared neighbourhood facilities and services are sited in areas that are safely accessible to all communities; and
  • e) All public realm spaces are safe and accessible shared spaces for use by everyone.

10. Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP)

Policy

Policies ENV1 and NH1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 4.11-4.12, Annex A

A Construction Environmental Management Plan is a plan developed to avoid, minimise or mitigate any construction effects on the environment.

When is it required?

A Construction Environmental Management Plan is required to support applications for:

  • EIA development (see section 19); and/or
  • Major development in sensitive coastal and harbour areas, within or in close proximity to protected designated sites such as Special Protection Areas (SPA), RAMSAR sites and Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).

(CEMPs for other forms of development will not normally be required to be submitted until after planning permission has been granted as a condition of planning permission).

Guidance

The Construction Environmental Management Plan should generally include:

  • details of all proposed site works, excavations and construction;
  • details of all areas to be used for the storage of substrate/spoil including a suitable buffer between location for storage of excavated spoil and construction materials and any watercourses or surface drain present on site or adjacent to site;
  • details of the pollution prevention measures to be employed during construction and operation including noise, vibration, dust, ambient air quality and contamination of both land and the water environment;
  • detailed drawing plans, demonstrating a suitable buffer between locations for refuelling, storage of oil/fuel, concrete mixing and washing areas and any watercourses or surface drain present on site or adjacent to the site; and
  • a proposed storm drainage plan designed to the principles of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in order to minimise the polluting effects of storm water on waterways. Construction of SuDS should comply with the design and construction standards as set out in The SuDS Manual - Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) Report C753 (2015).

Guidance on the content of Construction Environmental Management Plans is available on the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs website.

11. Contaminated Land Report

Policy

Policy ENV1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Land contamination can harm human health, drinking water supplies, groundwater and surface water, soils, ecosystems including wildlife, animals and wetlands, and property. It is the responsibility of the developer to ensure that the development is safe and suitable for the purpose for which it is intended, or can be made so by remedial action

A Contamination Land Report assesses the suitability of the site for its proposed end use. It sets out the nature of contaminants, the level of risk to future occupants, users of land or environment, and mitigation measures to reduce any risks to an acceptable level.

When is it required?

A Contaminated Land Report is required where new development is proposed on, or in proximity to, land which has a current or previous use that has the potential for contamination. In those cases, there is possibility of risk to human health or the environment if the proposed development proceeds without proper consideration of contaminated land risks.

Examples of potentially contaminated land include:

  • previously developed “brownfield sites”; 
  • former industrial land (for example heavy engineering works, textile works and foundries);
  • petrol filling stations (and other land uses associated with fuel storage); or
  • areas that have been subject to in-filling and/or reclamation.

Guidance

A Contaminated Land Report must be produced by a competent person in accordance with the staged risk based approach presented in the ‘Land contamination risk management (LCRM)' guidance published by the UK Environment Agency.

A staged approach is required as follows:

  1. Preliminary risk assessment, which should be followed where necessary by a generic or detailed quantitative risk assessment in order to quantify the risk;
  2. An appraisal of remediation options may then need to be presented, followed by development of a remediation strategy;
  3. If remediation is required, in order to demonstrate that the remediation objectives have been met, a verification report will need to be provided prior to occupation or operation of the development. 

It should be noted that references to the Part 2A contaminated land regime within the LCRM do not apply in Northern Ireland.

All Land Contamination Assessments must be undertaken having regard to relevant British Standards and industry best practice (as outlined within the LCRM guidance).

Applicants are also referred to the information available in the DAERA Developers Guide - Redeveloping Land Affected by Contamination, best practice guidance.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) Land Use Database contains a record of approximately 14,000 sites across Northern Ireland that have had previous industrial land use(s). This database is available via the OSNI Spatial NI - Map Viewer.  Other important sources of information in regard to land contamination assessments include historical maps (such as those provided within the PRONI Historical Maps viewer) and geological and hydrogeological information (such as that provided within the GSNI GeoIndex map viewer).  It may also be useful to seek environmental information on specific sites from relevant authorities, including the Environmental Health Service in the Council. This should be done prior to the planning application being made.

12. Contextual Design Information

Policy

Policies DES1, BH1, BH2, BH3 and BH4 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 4.23- 4.40

Contextual Design Information is visual material, such as a drawing or CGI, which accurately reflects the proposal in its immediate and local context, usually the existing street scene into which the development is to be placed.  Planning policy requires careful consideration of the local context, urban character, the needs of residents and the local economy. New development should bring about an improvement of the area and sit comfortably within the area in which it is proposed.

When is it required?

Contextual Design Information will be required for:

  • applications for Major development, particularly within the city centre;
  • proposals that impact on heritage assets including Listed Buildings, historic monuments/gardens, Conservation Areas and Areas of Townscape Character; or
  • proposals that may significantly impact on the street-scene or townscape.

Guidance

The type of Contextual Design Information that is required will depend on the nature of the proposals, its location, scale and the expected impacts.

Design and the impact of proposals on the urban and rural environment are very important planning considerations. Contextual Design Information demonstrates how a proposal is placed within the established area and accordingly how it fits into its visual context and may include:

  • extended scaled elevations, both existing and proposed, which illustrate the existing context and how the proposal responds to this context in relation to neighbouring buildings and the wider street scene;
  • photomontages showing existing and proposed key views;
  • axonometric drawings; and
  • 3D modelling including use of VU.CITY: Belfast (an accurate 3D model of the City)

Specific requirements can be discussed as part of a Pre-Application Discussion.

13. Daylight, Sunlight and Overshadowing Assessment

Policy

Policy DES1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Residential Extensions and Alterations SPG

SPPS Para. 4.23- 4.40

A Daylight, Sunlight and Overshadowing Assessment is used to assess the impact of new development on existing surrounding properties and open spaces in terms of daylight and sunlight, as well as the performance of the development for future occupants. New development should maximize sunlight and daylight, both within the new development and to neighbouring properties. Development should seek to minimize overshadowing or blocking of light to adjoining properties.

When is it required?

An assessment will be required in support of all applications involving:

  • buildings exceeding four storeys in height where adjoining other developed land or public open spaces;
  • where proposed buildings or extensions could lead to overshadowing of adjacent or other proposed buildings or spaces within the same development site; or
  • where the proposed development would itself be subject to significant shading from adjoining buildings or trees.

Guidance

To assess the impact of proposals on adjoining properties, including associated gardens or amenity space in respect of loss of daylight and sunlight, it is recommended that a “daylight, vertical sky component, sunlight availability and shadow study” is undertaken and assessed against the criteria set out in: Building Research Establishment Site Layout Planning for Sunlight and Daylight: A Guide to Good Practice (2011) and the British Standard BS8206-2:2008 Lighting for buildings – Part 2: Code of Practice for Daylighting.

The information included in the assessment should be sufficient to determine the existing and expected levels of daylight, sunlight and overshadowing on neighbouring properties and the measures that will be taken to mitigate the expected impact of the proposed development.

Having regard to the Council’s Residential Extensions and Alterations Supplementary Planning Guidance, new buildings and extension on daylight can be assessed using the 45 degree angles tests to indicate where a proposal is likely to overshadow neighbouring properties. The tests take into account the location of the neighbouring property’s/properties’ closest main habitable rooms (i.e. bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms or kitchens) and provides a tool to help assess the loss of light as a result of proposed extensions to the front and rear of a residential property.

Further guidance is contained in the Council’s Residential Extensions and Alterations Supplementary Planning Guidance.

14. Demolition Justification Statement

Policy

Policies BH2, BH3 and ENV2 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 6.13, 6.15, 6.18s, 6.19 and 6.22

The Council seeks to safeguard buildings that make a material contribution to a Conservation Area or Area of Townscape Character. The retention of buildings and structures can also be more a sustainable approach than demolition and replacement with new buildings. Policy ENV2 of the Plan Strategy seeks to avoid demolition, where feasible, with consideration given to how existing buildings or main structures can be re-used.  A Demolition Justification Statement demonstrates why a building or structure that is normally protected by planning policy cannot be retained.   

When is it required?

A Demolition Justification Statement is required in the following circumstances:

  • where the proposal involves demolition of a building or main structure and replacement redevelopment of the site, having regard to Policy ENV2 of the Plan Strategy. This information will also be sought where demolition has already taken place;
  • demolition of a building that makes a material contribution to a Conservation Area, in the context of Policy BH2 of the Plan Strategy;
  • demolition of a building that makes a material contribution to the distinctive character of an Area of Townscape Character.

Guidance

The Demolition Justification Statement should explain why it is not feasible to retain and re-use the existing building/s or main structure/s that are proposed to be demolished. Factors may include the structural condition of the building and/or financial viability and need to be evidenced. In this regard, a Demolition Justification Statement may incorporate the requirements of sections 26 Marketing Statement and 44 Viability Statement.

The Demolition Justification Statement should also include measures to minimise any waste through the re-use of as much building material as possible. If acceptable, those measures may be a secured as a planning condition were planning permission to be granted.

The level of detail included in the Demolition Justification Statement should be proportionate to the nature and function of the building and the issues involved.

15. Drainage Assessment

Policy

Policies ENV4 and ENV5 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 6.104 and 6.113

Planning and Flood Risk Supplementary Planning Guidance

A Drainage Assessment sets out the drainage issues relevant to new development and the measures to provide the appropriate standard of drainage. The detail of the assessment will be proportionate to the nature of the proposal.

When is it required?

The Planning and Flood Risk Supplementary Planning Guidance states that a Drainage Assessment is required for all development proposals that exceed any of the following thresholds.

  • new residential development comprising of 10 or more residential units; or
  • a development site in excess of 1 hectare; or
  • change of use involving new buildings and/or hardstanding surface exceeding 1,000 sqm in area.

A Drainage Assessment will also be required for any development proposal, except for minor development, where:

  • the proposed development is located in an area where there is evidence of a history of surface water flooding; or
  • surface water run-off from the development may adversely impact upon other development or features of importance to nature conservation, archaeology or the built heritage.

If written consent from DFI Rivers is required under the terms of Schedule 6 of the Drainage (NI) Order 1973, this should be submitted with your application as part of the Drainage Assessment.

Guidance

Further guidance is provided by the Council’s Planning and Flood Risk Supplementary Planning Guidance.

16. Economic Statement

Policy

Policy EC3 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 6.79-98

Chapter 9 of the Developer Contributions Framework

An Economic Statement sets out the economic effects of new development on the area, whether specific to the neighbourhood in which the proposal would be located, city-wide or region.

When is it required?

An Economic Statement is where:

  • the proposal is for Major development for commercial uses such as offices, light industry, general industry, warehousing, retail and leisure ; or
  • the proposal would result in the loss of employment land, having regard to Policy EC4 of the Plan Strategy.

Guidance

An Economic Statement should include:

  • the number and type of jobs to be created both during the construction phase and on occupation, specifying whether the jobs are part time or full time;
  • whether the proposal is speculative or if there is a specific end user;
  • the timeframe for delivery of the development;
  • any wider benefits of the proposal to the economy.

17. Employability and Skills Profile

Policy

Policies SP4, EC3 and EC4 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 6.79-98

Chapter 9 of the Developer Contributions Framework

Chapter 9 of the Developer Contributions Framework sets out the circumstances in which developers will be required to make contributions to employability and skills.

An Employability and Skills Profile provides a breakdown of proposed uses and an estimate of potential jobs to be created/displaced as a result of the development. This information will enable the Council to undertake a “skills assessment”, which will inform whether employability and skills interventions are needed as a result of the development.

When is it required?

An Employability and Skills Profile is required for all applications for Major development, except for applications for environmental improvements, change of use of land or Multi-Use Game Areas (MUGAs) and proposals resulting in the loss of economic development uses.

Guidance

An Employability and Skills Profile should include:

Construction

  • details of the “construction phase” including: estimated construction costs; period for construction including estimate start date and completion date; and any relevant phasing information;
  • the number and type of Full Time Employment (FTE) jobs that will be created during the construction stage of the development including displacement calculations;

Operation

  • details of the ”operational phase” including: breakdown of floor space by use/number of bedrooms as applicable;
  • the number and type of Full Time Employment (FTE) jobs that will be created during the operational/occupation stage of the development based on purpose/use of development including displacement calculations; and
  • for mixed use developments the expected breakdown of uses as related to the employment sectors
  • The developer should base the provided figures on recognised employment densities and provide information on any assumption they have adopted.

The submitted information should be sufficient for the Council to carry out a “skills assessment” to establish whether employability and skills interventions are required. Where interventions are required, the applicant will be required to provide an Employability and Skills Plan. This will normally be secured through a Section 76 Planning Agreement (see section 25).

Further guidance is provided by the Council’s Developer Contributions Framework.

18. Event Management Plan

Policy

Policy ENV1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 4.11, 6.90 and 6.208. 6.213, Annex A

An Event Management Plan sets out proposal to minimise the transportation impacts of any events that would be held as a result of new development.

When is it required?

An Event Management Plan will be required for commercial, recreational and community proposals which will involve the hosting of events that generate significant large numbers of attendees.

Guidance

An Event Management Plan should be submitted for events that could result in significant travel disruption.  The measures should consider the types of trips, in all modes, likely to visit the site, to ensure they can arrive, park if necessary and depart without causing a traffic safety hazard or disruption to other traffic on the network. 

Where disruption to the network is anticipated, the Event Management Plan should propose measures that are co-ordinated with PSNI, Department for Infrastructure Roads, and the local community as necessary, to mitigate these impacts.  It should consider measures to encourage sustainable travel, such as public transport, the use of coaches and off-site park and ride and shuttle bus facilities.

19. Environmental Statement (EIA)

An Environmental Statement is a legislative requirement for applications for certain types of development. It sets out the likely significant effects of new development on the environment, whether positive or negative, and can relate to environmental, social and economic impacts.

When is it required?

Under the Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017, certain types of application need to be accompanied by an Environmental Statement. An Environmental Statement is required where:

Guidance

The purpose of an Environmental Statement is to assess the environmental, social and economic effects of development. Where an Environmental Statement is needed, the City Council cannot process the planning application without it. The planning application process will be subject to extended consultation in line with the Regulations.

The requirement for an Environmental Statement can be discussed as part of the Pre-Application Discussion process. If the development proposal falls under Schedule 2 of the Regulations, the applicant is strongly advised to submit a formal request to the City Council for a screening opinion prior to making the planning application.

Applications accompanied by an Environmental Statement are subject to an additional planning fee.

 

20. Flood Risk Assessment

Policy

Policy ENV4 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 6.99-132

Planning and Flood Risk Supplementary Planning Guidance

A Flood Risk Assessment is an assessment of the risk of flooding from all flooding mechanisms, the identification of flood mitigation measures and should provide advice on actions to be taken before and during a flood.

When is it required?

Policy ENV4 of the Plan Strategy and Planning and Flood Risk Supplementary Planning Guidance

set out the circumstances when a Flood Risk Assessment is required. This includes for all new development in flood risk areas.

Guidance

Please refer to the Council’s Planning and Flood Risk Supplementary Planning Guidance for when a Flood Risk Assessment is required and what should be included in it.

The detail and complexity of the Flood Risk Assessment should be commensurate with the size and complexity of the development.

Flood Maps can be viewed on the Department for Infrastructure website.  

Further guidance is provided by the Council’s Planning and Flood Risk Supplementary Planning Guidance

 

21. Health Impact Assessment (HIA)

Policy

Policy HC1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 3.2, 4.3-4.10

A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) helps to ensure that health and wellbeing are properly

considered in development proposals. In looking at how a proposal might affect people’s health, an HIA can identify ways to amend the proposal to reduce possible harmful effects and increase possible beneficial effects. HIAs can be done at any stage in the development process but are best done at the earliest stage possible in project design to allow scope for mitigations and other improvements.

When is it required?

A Health Impact Assessment is required for applications for Major residential, commercial and industrial developments.

Guidance

The Health Impact Assessment should demonstrate how the proposal meets the following:

  • supporting active travel options;
  • improving accessibility to local service centres;
  • reducing the use of private car travel;
  • adequate provision of public open space, leisure and recreation facilities;
  • high quality design; and
  • promoting balanced communities and sustainable neighbourhoods.

Further guidance is provided by the Planning Service’s Promoting Healthy Communities Technical Advice Note 1.

 

22. Householder Design Statement

Policy

RD2, ENV2, ENV3, ENV5, GB1 and TRE1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Residential Extensions and Alterations SPG

SPPS Para. 4.23- 4.40

A Householder Design Statement is a statement on how a proposal to alter or extend a residential property promotes good design, ensures a quality residential environment for householders and their neighbours, and promotes sustainability.

When is it required?

A Householder Design Statement is required to support applications for domestic extensions, garages and outbuildings. 

Guidance

The Householder Design Statement should demonstrate how the proposal:

  • is of an appropriate scale, mass and design in keeping with the form and appearance of the existing property and surrounding area;
  • external materials and detailing are appropriate to the existing property and surrounding area;
  • respects neighbouring residential amenity, including the 45 degree angle test,
  • includes measures that will enable people to stay within their own homes; and
  • includes a climate change statement, detailing energy efficiency measures, SuDS and additional tree planting.

Further guidance is provided by the Council’s Residential Extensions and Alterations Supplementary Planning Guidance.

 

22. Housing Mix Statement

Policy

Policy HOU6 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Affordable Housing and Housing Mix SPG

SPPS Para. 4.14. 4.16. 6.137

A Housing Mix Statement provides details of the proposed mix of house types and sizes for new housing proposals of a certain scale. The aim is to promote choice and assist in meeting community needs. There should be particular emphasis on provision for smaller homes across all tenures.

When is it required?

A Housing Mix Statement is required for applications for new residential development on sites greater than 0.1 ha and/or containing 5 or more residential units.

Guidance

The Housing Mix Statement shall include the following information:

  • The number of residential units proposed by:
    • type – whether houses, apartments, maisonettes etc.
    • tenure – whether private, social or intermediate housing
    • size – the size of each unit in sqm
  • How the housing mix has been informed by the following–
    • analysis of prevailing housing need in the area
    • the location and size of the site
    • the specific characteristics of the development
    • the importance of creating balanced and sustainable communities.

Further guidance is provided by the Council’s Affordable Housing and Housing Mix Supplementary Planning Guidance.

 

23. Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) 

Policy

Policies LC1, LC2, LC3 and DC1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 4.39 and 6.76

 

A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment is the process of evaluating the effects of a proposal on views and on the landscape itself. There is an important distinction between visual effects (the human view or perception) and the landscape effects (which occur whether or not anyone can see them).

When is it required?

A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment is required for:

  • all development proposals for tall buildings of a height of 35 metres or more;
  • all applications for Major or Local development within a Conservation Area or Area of Townscape Character, the setting of a Listed Building, or within a locality where the proposal will introduce an increase to the predominant scale and mass;
  • proposals in the countryside which are likely to have a significant visual impact within the landscape, and for any Major applications within or affecting the setting of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty;
  • proposals for wind turbines where their overall height would exceed 15 metres and where Environmental Impact Assessment is required.

Guidance

A Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment considers the impact of new development in the landscape. Understanding the character quality and value of the landscape determines the sensitivity of that landscape to accommodate change through development.

The two components of a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment are:

  • landscape effects assessment – deals with changes to landscape as a resource, and
  • visual effects assessment – concerned with how the surroundings of individuals or groups of people may be specifically affected by change in the landscape. 

The Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment should clearly demonstrate an understanding of the difference between them.  The sensitivity of receptors (people) to changes in view is dependent upon the activity, location and nature of the view experienced. People engaged in outdoor sports or occupiers of commercial buildings are considered to be of low sensitivity, with road users, footpath users and views from upper storeys of residential properties of medium sensitivity. Residents experiencing views from principal rooms and people visiting well-known beauty spots are considered of high sensitivity to change.

A Zone of Visual Influence map (ZVI) or Critical View analysis should also be included.

Further information can be obtained from the Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment published jointly by the Landscape Institute and the Institute of Environmental Assessment in 2013.

 

24. Lighting Assessment

Policy

Policies ENV1, OS5 and OS7 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 4.11 and 6.213

A Lighting Assessment explains how proposals that include largescale external lighting will impact on visual amenity of the area, and the living conditions of local people.

When is it required?

A Lighting Assessment is required for:

  • proposals involving largescale artificial lighting (such as floodlighting of sports pitches); or
  • proposals for sensitive receptors close to a largescale existing artificial light source.

Guidance

A Lighting Assessment should include the following as a minimum:

  • details of the external lighting, including a layout plan with beam orientation and a schedule of the equipment in the design;
  • proposed hours of operation of the lighting;
  • a light overspill diagram with a vertical lux contour plot and calculated vertical lux levels at appropriate fa├žade heights at sensitive premises, taking account of topography;
  • identification of the appropriate environmental zone as outlined in the relevant Institute of Lighting Professionals guidance document: Details of any directional hoods or other forms of mitigation;
  • the design and layout details of the proposal should demonstrate that any existing light sources will have no negative impact on habitable rooms.

Detailed guidance on conducting an artificial lighting assessment can be found in the ILP ‘Guidance on Undertaking Environmental Lighting Impact Assessments’

Applicants should also refer to the Institute of Lighting Professionals’ publication: Guidance Note for the reduction of obtrusive light (GN01/2011, revised in 2020 GN01/20).

Further guidance is provided by Sport England – Outdoor Sports Lighting Briefing Note

 

25. Marketing Statement

Policy

Policies BH2, EC4 and TLC2 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Loss of Zoned Employment Land SPG

A Marketing Statement demonstrates whether or not the existing use of a building or land is viable or likely to be viable in the context of market testing.

When is it required?

A Marketing Statement is required where the applicant seeks to demonstrate that the current use of a building or land is no longer viable or is unlikely to be viable, and believes that this is an important material consideration when the planning application is assessed.

For example, a Marketing Statement may be used to support applications which involve:

  • demolition of a building which makes a material contribution to the character and appearance of a Conservation Area, having regard to Policy BH2 of the Plan Strategy;
  • loss of zoned employment land, having regard to Policy EC4 of the Plan Strategy; or
  • loss of existing tourism, leisure and cultural provision and assets, having regard to Policy TLC2 of the Plan Strategy

Guidance:

The City Council expects the building or land to be subject to rigorous marketing for a minimum period of 18-months. The Marketing Statement should include the following information:

  • The market price (sale, leasehold or rent) and indication of this price relative to those prevailing for similar premises in the local market of Belfast;
  • Any reductions in market price made during the course of marketing;
  • The marketed use of the site (or options for retaining the building/land in its current form/use should be explored;
  • A monthly breakdown of interest in the property;
  • A copy of the dated letter of instruction to the commercial agent;
  • Property details including photographs, type and size of the property, address and location information, leasehold rent and/or freehold sale price;
  • Current permitted use;
  • Asking price;
  • Any restrictions, conditions or covenants;
  • Known costs such as service charges; rateable value;
  • Terms/conditions associated with the sale and the site tenure;
  • Web-based and other forms of marketing through the appoint commercial agent.

Further guidance is contained in the Council’s Loss of Zoned Employment Land Supplementary Planning Guidance.

 

26. Master planning Statement

Policy

Policy DES2 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Masterplanning Approach for Major Development SPG

SPPS Para. 3.3, 4.2, 4.11, 4.12, 4.23-4.36

 

A Masterplanning Statement sets out how proposals for Major development accord with the masterplanning principles set out in Policy DES2 of the Plan Strategy.

When is it required?

A Masterplanning Statement is required for all applications for Major development.

Guidance:

Masterplanning Statement shall explain how the proposal satisfies the following masterplanning principles. Where a criterion is not met, this must be justified.

  • a) Adopting a holistic approach to site assembly, layout and design that is mindful of adjacent sites, where suitable for redevelopment, while avoiding prejudice to future development potential and/or quality where development is of a significant scale and prominence;
  • b)  Promoting opportunities for urban repair and greater connectivity to neighbouring areas by minimising or mitigating physical barriers that create undue effort or separation, informed by feedback from existing communities;
  • c) Maximising solutions to deliver energy efficiencies that seek to achieve BREEAM ‘excellent’ or comparable standard;
  • d) Promoting higher density residential and mixed use development along city corridors and at gateway locations;
  • e) Contributing positively to the improvement of the public realm within, and in the proximity of, the development site through the use of high quality hard and soft landscape materials and street furniture;
  • f) Including an appropriate landscape management and maintenance plan, early in the planning process, as an integral part of all landscape proposals;
  • g) Enhancing the waterside character and setting of the River Lagan, including the improvement of existing and provision of new access points and new cross river connections where appropriate;
  • h) Referencing unique parts of the city through the realisation of key landmarks within prominent or gateway locations;
  • i) Seeking to include where appropriate the provision of public art; and
  • j) Seeking the retention of existing trees within and around the site and make adequate provision to allow them to mature while ensuring the continuance of tree cover through new tree planting.

Further guidance is contained in the Council’s Masterplanning Approach for Major Development Supplementary Planning Guidance.

 

27. Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment (NVIA)

Policy

Policy ENV1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Sensitive Uses SPG

SPPS Para. 4.11-4.12, Annex A

A Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment sets out the potential for new development to impact on its surroundings by way of noise and/or vibration. Where necessary, it will include measures to mitigate noise and vibration impacts, particularly if the site is surrounded by sensitive premises such as housing and other residential uses.

When is it required?

A Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment is required where:

  • noise and/or vibration arising from the proposed development has potential to adversely impact on nearby residential property or other noise sensitive premises (e.g. schools or hospitals); or
  • proposed noise sensitive premises or development is likely to be exposed to adverse noise and/or vibration from an existing noise source (e.g. from road traffic/railway/ entertainment venues/sports/leisure facilities/plant noise)

Guidance

The Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment should:

  • be carried out by a competent acoustic consultant;
  • include an assessment of existing baseline noise conditions;
  • be carried out in line with current guidance and British Standards;
  • assess the impact on the internal amenity and, where appropriate the external amenity;
  • identify any intensification of use of a site and/or cumulative impacts for a major mixed-use site;
  • identify the necessary mitigation/design measures to ensure suitable internal and external noise targets are not exceeded.

Reference should be made to current guidance such as: BS4142:2014+A1:2009 ‘Methods for rating and assessing industrial and commercial sound’, BS8233 ‘Guidance on sound insulation and noise reduction for buildings’, WHO Guidelines for Community Noise 1999; BS6272-1 Guide to evaluation of human exposure to vibration in buildings; ProPG Guidance: Planning & Noise (2017) and IEMA Guidelines for Noise Environmental Noise Impact Assessment.

Further guidance is contained in the Council’s Sensitive Uses Supplementary Planning Guidance.

 

28.  Odour Impact Assessment

Policy

Policy ENV1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 4.11 and 6.90

An Odour Impact Assessment assesses the impact of odour generating uses on sensitive receptors; or to assess the impact of existing nearby odour generating uses on proposals whose use/s are sensitive by nature.

Where necessary and appropriate, the assessment should include measures to mitigate odour impacts. This shall include details of proposed odour abatement system controls and demonstrate that the proposed controls are fit for purpose.

When is it required?

An Odour Impact Assessment will be required in the following circumstances:

  • proposals for use/s which generate odour and have the potential to impact on the amenity of nearby sensitive receptors. Examples of odour generating uses include commercial kitchens, industrial processes, breweries/distilleries, waste transfer stations, sewage treatment/pumping stations; or
  • proposals for sensitive uses which have the potential to be impacted by existing odour generating uses in the locality. Examples of sensitive uses include residential proposals, offices, hotels and tourist accommodation.

Guidance

An Odour Impact Assessment must be carried out by competent person/s and in line with current best practice and guidance.  Applicants are referred to guidance provided by IAQM: Guidance on the Assessment of Odour for Planning (version 1.1 July. 2018)

Details of an odour abatement system should include:

  • floor plans, positioning and design of ventilation and extraction equipment;
  • manufacturers details of the equipment proposed including odour abatement techniques; and
  • assessment of certain processes may require odour dispersion modelling to predict impact at sensitive receptors; and
  • elevation drawings of the odour abatement system including its external location, flue/s and ventilation termination points;

Useful guidance is provided by DEFRA – Guidance on the Control of Odour and Noise from Commercial Kitchen Exhaust Systems (2005) (This guidance was officially withdrawn in 2017 but remains a useful reference point)

A Noise Assessment may also be required (see section 27).

Further guidance is contained in the Council’s Sensitive Uses Supplementary Planning Guidance.

 

29. Parking Survey

Policy

Policy TRAN8 and TRAN9 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 6.296, 6.297 and 6.304

Parking Standards (DFI)

Creating Places

A Parking Survey assesses the number and location of vehicles parked at any one time in the vicinity of the application site, either on street or in existing car parks, and provides an indication of parking trends and any available capacity that could serve the new development.

When is it required?

A Parking Survey should be submitted when there is an identified parking need that cannot be accommodated within the application site. Typically, it is used to demonstrate whether there is sufficient parking capacity on public roads or streets to accommodate the additional vehicles generated by the new development. 

Guidance

The Parking Survey can form part of a Transport Assessment or Transport Assessment Form. It should be undertaken over a minimum of two days at appropriate times during the day and evening, and on both weekdays and weekends.

Further guidance on when a Parking Survey is required and what should be included in it can be obtained from the Department for Infrastructure Roads Eastern Division.

 

30. Phasing Plan

Policy

Policies DES1 and DES2 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Par. 6.301

A Phasing Plan sets out the sequence in which the various parts of a larger development scheme will be brought forward. The phasing is indicated on a diagrammatic plan with supporting narrative that describes the sequencing and why it is to take place in that order.                               

When is it required?

Where the phasing of development of a site is critical, either from a planning or commercial perspective. This may include the sequencing of development to ensure that necessary infrastructure is put in place, such as a roads, affordable housing or a community facility.

Guidance

Where circumstances warrant, plans may show a phased release of development land. Phasing may be necessary having regard to infrastructure requirements or the adequacy of other services, which may indicate that a particular area cannot be released for development until a particular stage in the plan period. It may also take into account any relocation of people, sale or rental of land, property market, movement issues, land ownership patterns, funding availability, and relevant planning processes and legislation.

 

31. Planning Agreement (Heads of Terms and draft Planning Agreements)

Policy

Policies DES1, HOU5, HOU12, RD1, CRG1, HC1, CI1, CC1, TRAN8, ENV5 and OS3 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy 

SPPS Para. 5.66,  5.67, 5,69 and 5.77

Developer Contributions Framework

A Planning Agreement is a legally binding agreement, normally between the applicant, landowner and council, secured under Section 76 of the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. Planning Agreements are used to secure a planning obligation, such as developer contributions, where it is not possible to do so by a planning condition. The Planning Agreement must be signed and completed before the planning permission can be issued.

Heads of Terms set out the applicant’s intention to enter into a Planning Agreement as part of the planning application process and the nature of the planning obligations that it is expected to contain. A Draft Planning Agreement is much more detailed and contains the draft clauses intended to secure the planning obligations.

When is it required?

Heads of Terms should be provided for all applications where it is expected that a Planning Agreement will be a prerequisite to the granting of planning permission.

A Draft Planning Agreement must be provided with all applications for Major development where:

  • planning obligation(s) are proposed by the applicant, or
  • planning obligations(s) are advised as part of a Pre-Application Discussion, or
  • the requirement for planning obligation(s) is identified by planning policy, including the Councils Plan Strategy or Developer Contributions Framework.

Guidance

The requirement for a Planning Agreement can be discussed as part of the Council’s Pre-Application Discussion service. 

For Local applications, the applicant may voluntarily submit a draft Planning Agreement with their planning application if it is expected that the planning permission, if granted, will be subject to a Planning Agreement.

The City Council’s Developer Contributions Framework sets out circumstances when a Planning Agreement will be required to secure developer contributions.

Further guidance on planning agreements is provided by Development Management Practice Note 21: Section 76 Planning Agreements

 

32. Planning Statement

Policy

Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPG

SPPS

 

 

A Planning Statement is a written document that explains the rationale for a proposal within the relevant planning policy context

When is it required?

A Planning Statement is required for applications for:

  • Major development;
  • proposals that would result in a loss of existing open space,
  • proposals that would result in a loss of employment land;
  • proposals that require the exceptional test to be applied in the Planning and Flood Risk Supplementary Planning Guidance; and
  • proposals that would result in the demolition or part demolition of either:
    • a Listed Building; or
    • an un-listed building within a Conservation Area that makes a material contribution to the character or appearance of that Conservation Area.

Guidance

The Planning Statement should set out how a development proposal takes account of relevant planning policies and other material considerations. It should include:

  • a description of the site and its surrounding context;
  • a description of the proposal and why it is needed;
  • relevant planning history;
  • summary of the relevant regional and local planning policies, including the Local Development Plan, and how those planning policies have been applied;
  • other relevant material considerations;
  • assessment of the key planning issues;
  • justification for the proposal if it is contrary to planning policy (e.g. loss of open space);
  • Heads of Terms if a planning agreement is required (see section 23); and
  • draft planning conditions in the event that planning permission is granted.

 

33. Retail Impact Assessment

Policy

Policy RET2 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Retail and Main Town Centre Uses SPG

SPPS Para. 6.283 and 6.290

A Retail Impact Assessment considers the impacts of proposals for retail or other main town centre uses (including cultural and community facilities, retail, leisure, entertainment and businesses) on the vitality and viability of the City Centre, Town Centres, District and Local Centres.

When is it required?

A Retail Impact Assessment is required for proposals for retail or other main town centre uses above a threshold of 1,000 sqm or above, on the edge of or outside of designated centres.

Guidance

Planning policy requires a town centre first approach for the location of future retailing and other main town centre uses. The planning system should protect and enhance diversity in the range of town centre uses appropriate to their role and function, such as leisure, cultural and community facilities, housing and business.

A Retail Impact Assessment considers the impacts of development proposals for retailing and other main town centre uses on the vitality and viability of existing centres in the catchment including the primary retail core; district and local centres. It should consider:

  • the impact of the proposal on existing, committed and planned public and private investment in centres in the catchment area of the proposal; and
  • the impact of the proposal on the vitality and viability of centres, including local consumer choice and trade.

Further guidance is contained in the Council’s Retail and Main Town Centre Uses Supplementary Planning Guidance.

 

34. Sequential Test (main town centre uses)

Policy

Policy RET2 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Retail and Main Town Centre Uses SPG

SPPS Par. 6.280

The Sequential Test guides main town centre uses to sites within centres locations first. If no centre sites are available, developers should consider an edge of centre location. Only when centre locations or edge of centre locations are unavailable, can consideration be given to an out of centre location. In such cases the developer will still be required to demonstrate that the proposal will not harm existing centres.

When is it required?

The Sequential Test should be applied when an application for retail or other main town centre development3 is proposed either in an edge of centre or an out of centre location.

Guidance

Planning policy requires new retail development and the town centre before considering an edge of centre site. It supports the viability and vitality of town centres by placing existing town centres foremost in both plan-making and decision-taking.

There are four steps to follow when undertaking a Sequential Test.

  • Step 1 – establish the appropriate catchment for the development
  • Step 2 – decide which designated centres should be assessed
  • Step 3 – identify the sequentially preferable sites which should be assessed
  • Step 4 – assess the suitability, availability and viability of these sites

The applicant should submit a written statement with their application that sets out how the sequential test has been applied.

Further guidance is contained in the Council’s Retail and Main Town Centre Uses Supplementary Planning Guidance.

 

35. Specialist Housing Statement

Policy

Policy HOU8 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 4.14. 4.16. 6.137

A Specialist Housing Statement demonstrates how proposals for specialist residential accommodation, such as extra care housing, nursing homes and residential care homes, are required to meet a particular need, as well as being locationally sustainable with good access to shops, public transport and services.

When is it required?

A Specialist Housing Statement is required for all applications for specialist residential accommodation, including both new build and extensions, including sheltered housing, extra care housing, nursing homes and residential care homes.

Guidance

The Specialist Housing Statement should demonstrate how the proposal complies with the following criteria in Policy HOU8. Where a criterion is not met, this must be justified.

  • a) the homes and/or bed spaces to be provided meet community needs demonstrated through a statement of specialist housing need; and
  • b) the proposals will deliver convenient access to relevant local services and facilities, including local shops, public transport routes and health facilities

 

36. Structural Survey

Policy

Policies BH1, BH2, BH3, ENV2 and DC3 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 6.13, 6.15, 6.18, 6.22 and 6.73

A Structural Survey is a report into the structural integrity of a building and its suitability for retention or conversion. The survey needs to investigate the suitability of the building for its intended purpose. It must accurately detail the physical condition of the existing building/s and the extent of demolition, re-building and repair required, and also explain the method by which the building’s retention or conversion would be carried out.  

When is it required?

A Structural Survey will be required in relation to proposals to demolish, either whole or in part, protected buildings such as buildings in Conservation Areas, Areas of Townscape Character or Listed Buildings, where those buildings make a positive contribution to the character of appearance of the area and special justification for the demolition is required.

In the case of proposals for removal of a public elevation of an unlisted building in a Conservation Area which makes a material contribution to its appearance or character, a Structural Survey will be required to demonstrate that the public elevation can be removed without unduly compromising the integrity of the remainder of the building which is to be retained. 

Guidance

A Structural Survey should be carried out by a suitably qualified engineer.

Where alteration/demolition is proposed this must be clearly identified on the floor plans and elevations of the proposal and be cross referenced in the Structural Survey. Drawings must include scaled sections and coloured or hatched plans identifying building fabric to be demolished, rebuilt or repaired.

 

37. Student Accommodation Needs Statement

Policy

Policy HOU12 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

PBMSA SPG

A Student Accommodation Needs Statement supports applications for Purpose Built Managed Student Accommodation (PBMSA). It seeks to ensure that the need for student accommodation can be met in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way. Applicants are required to demonstrate that there is a need for the accommodation based on robust evidence.

When is it required?

A Student Accommodation Needs Statement is required for all applications for Purpose Built Managed Student Accommodation.

Guidance

Policy HOU12 of the Plan Strategy and the Council’s Purpose Built Managed Student Accommodation Supplementary Planning Guidance provide guidance on proposals for PBMSA. Specific advice on need is set out in paragraphs 5.53 – 5.56 of the guidance.

The Student Accommodation Needs Statement should provide evidence, as appropriate, to enable the assessment of need, based on known demand and supply indicators at the time within the student housing sector, including details of:

  • the specific need that is being addressed, with reference to relevant Corporate Plans published by the city’s further and higher education institutions;
  • why this need is currently unmet;
  • the type of existing accommodation the potential student occupiers are likely to be drawn from; confirmation that the facilities are to be used exclusively for student accommodation;
  • any recorded increase in student numbers;
  • university support, if available;
  • current waiting lists for student accommodation; and
  • Bank funding available to deliver proposals.

 

38. Tall Buildings Design Statement

Policy

Policy DES3 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Tall Buildings SPG

SPPS Para. 3.3, 4.2, 4.11, 4.12, 4.23-4.36

A Tall Buildings Design Statement sets out how proposals for buildings of 35 metres above ordnance datum (AOD) or taller address the design criteria set out in Policy DES3 of the Plan Strategy.

When is it required?

A Tall Buildings Design Statement is required for all applications for buildings of 35 metres above ordnance datum (AOD) or taller. The upper height threshold of 35m AOD will include extensions to existing buildings as well as any additional massing required at roof level to accommodate plant, such as air handling units and lift/stair overruns

Guidance:

The Tall Buildings Design Statement shall explain how the proposal satisfies each of the criteria in Policy DES3 of the Plan Strategy. Where a criterion is not met, this must be justified.

The Tall Buildings Design Statement should include a thorough urban design analysis which covers:

  • Contextual Analysis – character appraisal of immediate and local context including existing and planned building heights (clearly shown in metres), topography, urban grain, massing and materiality. Conclusions should be drawn outlining how these have been addressed.
  • Design Rationale – setting out the design vision for the proposal including architectural approach, streetscape treatment, palette of materials, open space provision (communal and private), public realm measures, soft and hard landscape treatment, security design measures, parking provision and servicing arrangements.
  • Visual Appraisal - including 3D modelling (such as VU.CITY) and verified visual montages of proposal, demonstrating how it responds to conclusions drawn from contextual analysis including any impact on key views and drawings/visualisations demonstrating the form and character of the proposed building.
  • Heritage Impact Assessment – identification and assessment of the impact of the proposal on the significance and setting of any affected heritage assets and areas of archaeological potential.
  • Microclimatic Impact – evidence of wind testing, sunlight/daylight and shadow analysis and how these have influenced the proposed design approach. Applicants are advised to refer to the BRE publication ‘Site layout planning for daylight and sunlight: a guide to good practice’ (BR 209 2022 edition or any subsequent editions/revisions).
  • Sustainable Design Measures – including aspects such as carbon footprint, energy efficiencies, green and blue infrastructure, sustainable construction methods and waste management.

Further guidance is contained in the Council’s Tall Buildings Supplementary Planning Guidance.

 

39. Tele-communications Supporting Statement

Policy

Policy ITU1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 6.235-250

 

Telecommunications infrastructure plays an increasingly important role in our everyday lives in terms of our domestic needs, supporting business and commerce, as well as the emergency services. However, such infrastructure has the potential to be damaging to the townscape and countryside. A Telecommunications Supporting Statement sets out the rationale for proposals for new or replacement masts and base stations, provides technical justification for the proposals and demonstrates how it has been sited and designed to minimise visual and environmental impact. 

When is it required?

A Telecommunications Supporting Statement is required for all applications for telecommunications infrastructure comprising masts, antennae and base stations.

Guidance

A Telecommunications Supporting Statement must include the following information:

Design Statement

In accordance with Policy ITU 1 of the Plan Strategy, the Council will permit proposals for telecommunications development where such proposals, together with any necessary enabling works, will not result in unacceptable damage to visual amenity or harm to environmentally sensitive features or locations, or heritage features. In addition to the technical plans and drawings required by Appendix 2 of the Application Checklist, applications must include:

  • Summary of how the proposals, having regard to technical and operational constraints, have been sited and designed to minimise visual and environmental impact;
  • Identification and consideration of relevant constraints (e.g. Conservation Areas, Listed Buildings, archaeology, flood risk areas etc.) including compliance with the relevant planning policies;
  • Rationale for the type of site which has been chosen, clearly evidencing why non-street works site type options are not practical (i.e. using existing buildings, rooftops or land such as parks, private land etc.)
  • Justification for the physical design of the mast or base station, including its scale, height, size, materials and colour finishes and why infrastructure of a lesser scale would be unsuitable. This should include consideration of measures to mitigate the visual and environmental impact of the proposal;
  • Confirmation of which alternative sites and structures have been considered and why these were rejected for either operational and/or visual impact reasons. The Statement must be accompanied by a plan showing the precise location of those alternative sites;
  • Demonstration that sites with extant planning permission have been fully considered as an alternative. The analysis should include the planning reference of the permission and a plan showing its location;
  • Existing and proposed photomontages of key views of the site. Where relevant, this should show existing adjacent telecommunications infrastructure with the proposed mast, antennae or base station;
  • Existing trees and their crowns on or adjacent the site accurately plotted on the block plan. Where trees are likely to be impacted by the proposal a Tree Survey must be provided (see section 35, Tree Survey);
  • Exceptionally in designated or other sensitive landscapes a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) may be needed (see section 18. Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment);
  • Any proposals to relocate existing infrastructure as part of the application; and
  • Detail any pre-application community consultation undertaken in respect of the proposed infrastructure.

Technical justification

Applications must include:

  • Demonstration of why the proposed infrastructure is required in this location. Applications will need to evidence why the proposal is needed including a description of how it fits into the provider’s broader network coverage of Belfast and beyond if applicable. This must include an “infrastructure map” showing its existing and future infrastructure across the city;
  • Whether the proposal is to address an existing coverage gap, data capacity shortfall, or to provide new services or technology, including an explanation for each;
    • Where the proposal is needed to address coverage requirements, Existing and Proposed “Coverage prediction plots” to clearly demonstrate this; and/or
    • Where the proposal is required to address a shortfall in data capacity, providing evidence of congestion including data on the volume of data traffic and users being served, utilisation of existing cellular sites and the impact on typical user data rates of congestion in the area
  • The services that the infrastructure will provide, to whom and over what radius/area;
  • Confirmation of the technology that the infrastructure will accommodate e.g. 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G or other;
  • The technical range of the infrastructure (metric);
  • Description of any required minimum distance between the proposed infrastructure and existing masts or base stations, including the technical reasons for this separation;
  • Statement indicating its location, the height of the antennae, the frequency and modulation characteristics, details of power output;
  • Demonstration of how the site will meet both existing and future requirements. This must include how provision has been made for potential future expansion of the site (including the assumptions used) as well as decommissioning of older technologies; and
  • Declaration that the mast and base station when operational will meet the ICNIRP guidelines for public exposure to electromagnetic fields.

Mast sharing and existing structures

In accordance with Policy TEL 1 it must be demonstrated that (a) the sharing of an existing mast or other structure has been investigated and is not feasible; or (b) a new mast represents a better environmental solution than other options. Applications must include:

  • A plan showing existing infrastructure in the area (irrespective of provider or type) and describe why these cannot be shared both now and in the future;
  • Demonstration of why existing infrastructure cannot be upgraded (e.g. physical loading constraints);
  • Confirmation of which alternative sites and structures have been considered and why these were rejected for either operational and/or visual impact reasons. The Statement must be accompanied by a plan showing the precise location of those alternative sites. Alternative sites and structures will include existing masts and base stations (irrespective of the provider); street furniture; buildings, rooftops etc.;
  • Scope for replacing existing base stations, antennae and masts in the vicinity with new infrastructure which can accommodate the necessary technology;
  • Technical and operational explanation of why those existing masts cannot be shared (including any conflicts in technology such as 5G compatibility with other infrastructure; and where applicable, coverage prediction plots for shared and non-shared solutions); and
  • Where relevant, how the proposal represents a better environmental solution than other options.

 

40. Transport Assessment

Policy

Policy TRAN3 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Transportation SPG

SPPS Para. 6.303

Chapter 10 of the Developer Contributions Framework

A Transport Assessment is a comprehensive review of all the potential transport impacts of a proposed development or re-development, with an agreed plan to mitigate any adverse consequences.

When is it required?

A Transport Assessment is required where the new development would likely have significant transport implications. Applicants should complete a Transport Assessment Form (TAF) to help establish if a detailed Transport Assessment is needed (see section 41).

The following table provides an indicative guide as to when a Transport Assessment may be required.

Food retail - 1,000 sqm Gross Floor Area

Non-food retail - 1,000 sqm Gross Floor Area

Cinemas and conference facilities - 1,000 sqm Gross Floor Area

Leisure facilities - 1,000 sqm Gross Floor Area

Business - 2,500 sqm Gross Floor Area

Industry - 5,000 sqm Gross Floor Area

Distribution and warehousing - 10,000 sqm Gross Floor Area

Hospitals - 2,500 sqm Gross Floor Area

Higher and further education 2,500 sqm Gross Floor Area

Stadia - 1,500 seats                         

Housing – 100 units

Guidance

A Transport Assessment is a comprehensive review of all the potential transport impacts of a proposed development, with an agreed plan to mitigate any adverse consequences. The coverage and detail of the Transport Assessment should reflect the scale and the likely extent of transport impacts of the proposed development. Developers need to consider a wide range of options to deal with the transport impacts of a development rather than simply increasing highway capacity to meet demand. Such measures may include the preparation of a Travel Plan (see section 42), travel cards, financial incentives to encourage alternatives to private car use, infrastructure improvements to make walking and cycling more attractive or public transport service improvements. 

Further guidance on Transport Assessments is provided by the Department for Infrastructure’s publication, Transport Assessment: Guidelines for Development Proposals in Northern Ireland (November 2006)

 

41. Transport Assessment Form

Policy

Policy TRAN2 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Par. 6.293-305

 

A Transport Assessment Form is a tool that applicants can use to screen out those applications where no further information on the transport impacts of the proposal is required.

When is it required?

A Transport Assessment Form (TAF) should be submitted for the following types of proposal:

  • residential comprising 25 or more units
  • non-residential with a gross floor area of 500 sqm or more
  • likely to generate 30 or more vehicle movements per hour
  • likely to generate 10 or more freight movements per day or 5 in any given hour

Guidance

Further advice can be found on the Department of Infrastructure Roads website

 

42. Travel Plan

Policy

Policy TRAN4 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Par. 6.293-305

Transportation SPG

Chapter 10 of the Developer Contributions Framework

A Travel Plan is a means of mitigating the transportation impacts of new development through long-term management measures to promote sustainable travel.

When is it required?

The requirement for a Travel Plan will be informed by a Transport Assessment (see section 29).

Guidance

A Travel Plan is intended to influence the way people travel to / from new development by encouraging more walking, cycling and public transport use. The transport measures contained in a Travel Plan should address the scale and the anticipated transport impacts of the proposed development and be tailored to the development proposal. Travel Plans that provide a range of coordinated transport measures will be more effective in changing travel behaviour.  A Travel Plan can help mitigate the transport and parking impacts associated with proposed developments. Further guidance on when a Travel Plan and what it should include can be obtained from the Department for Infrastructure Roads Eastern Division.

 

43. Tree Survey

Policy

Policies TRE1 and LC1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Trees and Development SPG

SPPS Para. 6.192

Creating Places

A Tree Survey (or arboricultural survey) assesses the impact of new development on any existing trees that are likely to be affected by the proposal, whether they are within the site or adjacent to it. The Tree Survey will assess the health and condition of the affected and assess their amenity value to the character and appearance of the area. The survey should also set out measures to protect the trees during construction.

When is it required?

Where the new development has the potential to impact on existing trees on or adjacent to the site (including street trees).

Guidance

Applicants will need to satisfy the City Council that new development will not have an adverse impact on important trees within or adjacent the site, and that a high quality and ecologically friendly landscaping scheme can be provided as part of the scheme. 

A Tree Survey should be carried out in accordance with BS5837:2012 Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction – recommendations (or any subsequent replacement BS) and should be prepared by a suitably qualified and experienced arboriculturalist.

The Tree Survey should include as a minimum:

  • a plan showing existing trees on or adjacent to the site;
  • an evaluation of the health, condition and amenity value of the trees affected by the proposal
  • a proposed layout showing retained trees and Root Protection Areas (RPAs);
  • a plan showing new tree planting;
  • Arboricultural Implications Assessment;
  • existing and proposed finished levels;
  • Tree Protection Plan;
  • Arboricultural Method Statement (where applicable), including details for all special engineering within the Root Protection Area (as determined by the Arboricultural Implications Assessment); and
  • the position of existing and proposed services.

Further guidance is contained in the Council’s Trees and Development Supplementary Planning Guidance.

44. Viability Assessment

Policy

Policies HOU5, BH1, BH2 and BH3 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 6.13

Development Viability SPG

Chapter 17 of the Developer Contributions Framework

 

 

The financial viability of proposals may in some circumstances be a material planning consideration.

A scheme is viability where, after taking account of all costs, the proposal provides a competitive return to the developer to ensure that development takes pace and generates a land value sufficient to persuade a land owner to sell the land for the development proposed. If these conditions are not met, a scheme will not be delivered.

A Viability Assessment assesses whether a development proposal is viable.

When is it required?

A Viability Assessment is required in exceptional circumstances where the normal planning policy requirement cannot be achieved on grounds of viability, such as:

  • the provision of affordable housing in accordance with Policy HOU5 of the Plan Strategy
  • demolition of a building that makes a material contribution to the character and appearance of a Conservation Area, having regard to Policy BH2 of the Plan Strategy
  • loss of existing tourism or cultural facilities in the context of Policy TLC2 of the Plan Strategy

Guidance

The Viability Assessment should be supported by appropriate available evidence, informed by engagement with developers, landowners, infrastructure and, where applicable, affordable housing providers. They should:

  • Provide a full open book appraisal, based on the residual valuation model;
  • Include all relevant costs (for example site holding costs, third party interests etc.);
  • Clarify the date on which the assessment was undertaken;
  • Include sensitivity testing;
  • Assessments should be proportionate, simple and transparent, providing an Executive Summary for publication;
  • The actual price paid for land will not normally be a relevant justification for failing to accord with the relevant policies in the Plan Strategy; and
  • Review mechanisms should be incorporated to strengthen the Council’s ability to seek compliance with relevant policies over the lifetime of proposed developments, and to optimise public benefits through economic cycles.

A Viability Assessment should be carried out by a suitably qualified professional such as a quantity surveyor.

The Council may choose to commission an independent review of the Viability Appraisal, the cost of which will be met by the applicant.

Further guidance is provided by the Council’s Development Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance and Developer Contributions Framework

45. Waste Management Plan

Policy

Policy DES1 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

Waste Infrastructure SPG

SPPS Para. 3.3, 4.2, 4.11, 4.12, 4.23-4.36

 

A Waste Management Plan sets out how waste will be managed when new development is occupied (residential) or operational (commercial).

When is it required?

A Waste Management Plan is required in the following circumstances:

  • new residential development for which communal waste storage is proposed (e.g. apartments, flats or sheltered housing); or
  • new commercial development of 500 sqm or more.

Guidance

The Waste Management Plan will establish the volume of waste likely to arise from new development once occupied or operational and sets out the provision for waste storage and access.

The Waste Management Plan should ensure that appropriate provision is made to:

  • accommodate the total waste generated from the building/s;
  • accommodate segregation of waste for recycling;
  • facilitate convenient and safe access and egress for depositing waste and collecting waste.

It should include:

  • occupier separation (how the occupier will manage waste within their own space)
  • occupier deposit and storage (how materials will be moved to the communal areas, and how materials will be stored)
  • collection method (how materials will be collected and by whom, where are the materials stored prior to collection)
  • removal and or on-site treatment (how materials will be removed from or treated/sorted on site)
  • end destination (whether materials are to be recycled and how much will end up in landfill)

Further advice on waste storage guidelines can be found on the Council's website as well as the following publications: Local Government Waste Storage Guide for Northern Ireland (2010); Supplementary Waste Storage Guidance for Housing and Apartment developments in Belfast 2017; and Supplementary Waste Storage Guidance for Purpose Built Managed Student Accommodation (PBMSA) (published June 2019).

46. Wind Energy Statement

Policy

Policy ITU4 of the Belfast LDP Plan Strategy

SPPS Para. 6.227, 6.230, 6.233

Wind Energy Developments in Northern Ireland’s Landscapes SPG

A Wind Energy Statement demonstrates how wind energy proposals comply with Policy ICU 4 of the Plan Strategy.

When is it required?

A Wind Energy Statement is required for applications for wind energy development.

Guidance

The Wind Energy Statement shall explain how the proposal satisfies each of the criteria in Policy ITU 4 of the Plan Strategy. Where a criterion is not met, this must be justified.

  • a) That the development will not have an unacceptable impact on visual amenity or landscape character through: the number, scale, size or siting of turbines;
  • b) That the development has taken into consideration the cumulative impact of existing wind turbines, those which have permissions and those that are currently the subject of valid but undetermined applications;
  • c) That the development will not create a significant risk of landslide or bog burst;
  • d) That no part of the development will give rise to unacceptable electromagnetic interference to communications installations; radar or air traffic control systems; emergency services communications; or other telecommunication systems;
  • e) That no part of the development will have an unacceptable impact on roads, rail or aviation safety;
  • f) That the development will not cause significant harm to the safety or amenity of any sensitive receptors (including future occupants of committed developments) arising from noise; shadow flicker; ice throw; and reflected light; and
  • g) That above-ground redundant plant (including turbines), buildings and associated infrastructure shall be removed and the site restored to an agreed standard appropriate.

Further guidance is contained in the Wind Energy Development in Northern Ireland’s Landscapes Supplementary Planning Guidance.

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