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Major development applications

Pre-application community consultation process pack

The Planning Act (NI) 2011 provided for the transfer of the majority of planning functions from central government to local councils. It also brings forward a number of reforms to the planning system.

The legislation requires that prospective applicants for all regionally significant and major developments must undertake formal public consultation prior to the submission of a planning application. This is to ensure that communities are aware of, and have an opportunity to comment on, such proposals before an application is made.

Development proposals fall into three categories:

  • regionally significant;
  • major; and
  • local.

All applications for regionally significant or major developments submitted on or after 1 July 2015 must comply with the pre-application community consultation process outlined in this guidance.

Please note - pre-application consultation does not replace the opportunity, or remove the need, for communities and individuals to make formal comments on proposals during the planning application process.

This pack contains the following:

Please return Notices to:
Belfast Planning Service
Belfast City Council
The Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street
Belfast
BT2 8BP

Call: 028 9050 0510
Email: planning@belfastcity.gov.uk

Pre-application community consultation process guidance notes

New hierarchy of development

There are three types of development which a proposal may fall into:

Regionally significant developments

As set out in The Planning (Development Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 (see checklist at end of this pack). Prospective applicants must consult with the Department of the Environment for regionally significant developments prior to submission of a PAN as outlined in The Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 Section 26.

These should not be made to the council.

Major developments

As included in The Planning (Development Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 (see checklist at end of this pack). Prospective applicants must consult with Belfast City Council for major developments prior to submission of a PAN as outlined in The Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 Section 26.

Local developments

All development, other than regionally significant and major developments, belong to the category of local developments and do not require community consultation.

Proposal of Application Notice

If pre-application consultation is required, applicants must submit a PAN at least 12 weeks prior to the submission of the planning application. The PAN form is available online.

The PAN must detail the consultation process the prospective applicant will undertake on the proposal, including when, how and with whom. We will respond within 21 days stating if it is acceptable or if the proposal is insufficient set out any additional consultation that is required.

The PAN should include:

  • contact details for the prospective applicant or agent;
  • if the site has a postal address, that address, including postcode;
  • a description of the proposed development, including details of proposed use, floor space (industrial / commercial), number of units (residential) etc.;
  • a plan showing the outline of the site at which the development is to be carried out; and
  • an account of what consultation the prospective applicant proposes to undertake.

Consultation with communities can begin when the Proposal of Application Notice is submitted, although we may request further consultation.

Who should be consulted and how?

The prospective applicant is required to indicate in the PAN what consultation will be
undertaken.

The statutory minimum requirements are:

  • The consultation must include at least one public event where members of the public may make comments to the prospective applicant on the development
  • Details of the proposal and consultation must be published in a local newspaper at least seven days prior to the event being held.

The public event advertisement must include:

  • the location and description of development,
  • details of where further information is available,
  • date and location of the event,
  • a statement explaining how, and by when, anyone wishing to make comment to the prospective applicant relating to the proposal may do so, and
  • a statement that comments made to the prospective applicant are not representations to the planning authority.

An example template for the required press advert is included at the end of the pack.

The planning authority may, within 21 days of receiving the PAN, notify the prospective applicant of any other persons they consider must also receive a copy of the PAN and of any other consultation that must take place, including the type and form of consultation.

In addition to the statutory minimum requirements Belfast City Council is in most cases likely to require the following additional consultation to be carried out:

  • the PAN is to be sent to members of council for the District Electoral Area in which the proposed development is situated — details can be found on our website
  • additional publicity to be provided for events including leaflets to neighbouring properties and posters in prominent locations in the area

Further consultations may still be required depending on the nature, extent or location of the proposed development.

Consultations must be carried out in a manner that provides genuine opportunities for members of the public to engage with applicants. For example, the timing and location of events should be considerate of the lifestyles and commitments of all members of the local community.

Applicants must be mindful of the need to ensure equality of opportunity in the ways in which they consult and engage with stakeholders, and consider how they will reach relevant groups and communities in an appropriate way. More advice on promoting equality, including helpful guidance on methods of consultation, can be found in our Equality Scheme and specifically chapter three: ‘Our arrangements for consulting’ available at: www.belfastcity.gov.uk/equality

Further advice on community consultation can also be found in DOE Practice Note 10 available at www.planningni.gov.uk/advice

Outcome

The consultation should be a meaningful engagement with local communities and those who can represent the community’s views, and should offer the opportunity to dispel any misunderstandings around the projects and address local objection early in the process.

The applicant must submit a pre-application consultation report with the planning application, detailing the consultation undertaken and any changes made to the proposal as a result.

Pre-application consultation report

The purpose of the pre-application consultation report is to confirm that pre-application consultation has taken place in line with statutory minimum requirements and in line with any further requirements set by the planning authority in their response to the Proposal of Application Notice.

The report should:

  • set out what steps were taken to comply with the statutory requirements and those of the planning authority. This should include copies of advertisements of the public event(s) and specify who has been consulted and what methods have been used.

It is advisable that the report also includes:

  • reference to, and examples of, material made available at such events; response from those consulted and the applicants consideration of those responses. The report should also set out to what extent, the proposals may have changed as a result of pre-application consultation.

The report must be made in writing and accompany the planning application when submitted and the planning authority is required to include it on part 1 of the planning register along with the application, plans and drawings.

Further information

If you require more information or help, please contact:

Belfast Planning Service
Belfast City Council
The Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street
Belfast
BT2 8BP

Call: 028 9050 0510
Email: planning@belfastcity.gov.uk

Pre-Application process

  Applicant Planning Authority Public
1. Pre-Application
Consultation
If pre-application consultation, submit Proposal of Application Notice to the planning authority and begin consultation Respond to notice within 21 days stating whether
consultation is acceptable and detailing any further consultation required
Respond to applicant with
views/opinions on the
proposed development.
2. Planning Application Submit planning application including pre-application consultation report. (minimum of 12 weeks from planning authority receipt of proposal of application notice) Assess the application and recommend a decision. Submit formal representations on the application to the planning authority. (21 day window from
application validation date or expiry date of any
advert.)

Major application definition checklist

Description of Development Major Development Criterion Regionally Significant (section 26) Criterion
(1) EIA development Development of a description in paragraphs; 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23 and 24; mentioned in Schedule 1 to the Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 Development of a description in paragraphs; 1, 3, 22, 23 and 24 mentioned in Schedule 1 to the Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015

(2) Energy infrastructure

Electricity generating stations

1. The construction of an electricity generating station where its capacity is or is more that 5 mega-watts
2. All onshore development associated with the construction of an off-shore electricity generating station
1. The construction an electricity generating stations where its capacity is or is more that 30 mega-watts
2. All onshore development associated with the construction of an off-shore electricity generating station with a capacity which is or exceeds 30 megawatts.
Electrical Power lines Installation of an electrical power line where the voltage exceed 33kilovolts if the purpose of the line is the provision of a supply to more than one customer

Installation of an electrical power line where the voltage:

  • is 110 kilovolts double circuit over-head line; or
  • Is or exceeds275 kilovolts and a length of more than 15 kilometres
Storage

1. Installation for the storage of petroleum, petrochemical, chemical products or natural gas where the storage capacity of the facility is expected to be 30,000 tonnes or more

2. Installations for the underground geological storage of petroleum, natural gas, carbon dioxide or compressed air energy storage

1. Installations for the storage of petroleum, petrochemical, chemical products or natural gas where the storage capacity of the facility is expected to be 200,000 tonnes or more

2. Installation for the underground geological storage of petroleum, natural gas, carbon dioxide or compressed air storage

Gas extractions

1. Any proposal relating to the ex-traction of unconventional hydro-carbons

2. The extraction of petroleum and natural gas for commercial pur-poses where the amount extracted is more than 250 tonnes per day in the case of petroleum and 250,000 cubic metres per day in the case of gas.

1. Any proposal relating to the ex-traction of unconventional hydro-carbons

2. Extraction of petroleum and natural gas for commercial purposes where amount extracted exceeds 500 tonnes per day in the case of petroleum and 500,000 cubic meters per day in the case of gas

Pipelines

Pipelines with diameter of more than 400mm or more than 20 kilometres in length:

  • for the transport of gas, oil or chemicals or
  • for the transport of carbon dioxide streams for the purposes of geological storage, including associated booster stations

Pipelines with a diameter of more than 800mm or more than 40 kilometres in length:

  • for the transport of gas, oil or chemicals or
  • for the transport of carbon dioxide streams for the purposes of geological storage, including associated booster stations

(3) Transport Infrastructure

Construction of new or replacement railways, airfields, harbours and ports, waterways, transit ways

The area of the works is or exceeds 1 kilometre in length of 1 hectare a) Construction of lines for long-distance railway traffic and of air-ports with a basic runway length of 2,100 metres or more
b) Inland waterways and ports for in-land waterway traffic which permit the passage of vessels of over 1.350 tonnes or
c) Trading ports, piers for loading and unloading connected to land and outside ports (excluding ferry piers) which can take vessels of over 1.350 tonnes

(4) Waste Infrastructure
Construction of facilities for use for the purposes of waste management, disposal or treatment

Waste management facilities

1. An installation for the disposal, treatment or recovery of hazardous waste with capacity for an annual intake of or more than 25,000 tonnes

2. Waste disposal installations for the incineration or chemical treatment (as defined in Annex I to Directive 2008/98/EC under heading D9(a)) of non-hazardous waste with a capacity exceeding 100 tonnes per day

1. An installation for the disposal, treatment or recovery of hazardous waste with capacity for an annual intake of or more than 100,000 tonnes

2. Waste disposal installations for incineration or chemical treatment (as defined in Annex I of Directive 2008/98/EC under heading D9) of non-hazardous waste with a capacity for an annual intake exceeding 100,000 tonnes

Waste water Waste water treatment plants with a capacity exceeding 50,000 population equivalent as defined in Article 2 point (6) of Directive 91/271/EEC Waste water treatment plants with a capacity exceeding 150,000 population equivalent as defined in Article 2 point (6) of Directive 91/271/EEC (b)

(5) Minerals

Extraction of minerals

The area of the site is or exceeds 2 hectares

(a) Development involving quarries or open-cast mining where the sur-face of the site exceeds 25 hectares, or peat extraction where the surface of the site exceeds 150 hectares; or

(b) Development involving under-ground mining where the surface of the site exceeds 2 hectares

(6) Housing
Construction of buildings structures or erections for use as residential accommodation; includes private schemes
(a) Development that comprises 50 units or more; or
(b) The area of the site is or exceeds 2 hectares
Not applicable
(7) Retail, community, recreation, culture
( According to Parts A & D—Schedule to the Planning (uses Classes) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015 (a))Including shops, financial, professional and other services, community and cultural uses, and assembly and leisure

(a) development that comprises 1000sq meters or more gross floor space outside town centres; or

(b) the area of the site is or exceeds 1 hectare

Not applicable

(8) Business, Industry Light and general), Storage and distribution

( According to Part B of the Schedule to the Planning (Use Classes) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015)

(a) Development that comprises 5000 sq metres of more gross floor space; or
(b) The area of the site is or exceeds 1 hectare
Not applicable

(9) All other Development

Any development not falling wholly within any single class of development described in Parts 1 to 8 above

(a) Development that comprises 5000 sq metres or more gross floorspace; or
(b) The area of the site is or exceeds 1 hectare
Not applicable

Proposal of Application Notice application form

Example public event advertising template

PUBLIC EVENT ADVERTSING TEMPLATE
(responsibility of the prospective applicant)
Planning Act (Northern Ireland )2011 and The Planning (Development Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 (Regulation 5 (2)(b))

Pre-application public event

Proposal: ..........................................................................................................................................................
Location ............................................................................................................................................................
a (type of event; public meeting, exhibition etc) .................................................................................................
will take place on (date) ...................................................... at (time) ...............................................................
at (venue) ..............................................................................................................................................................

Further information relating to these proposals may be obtained from:
.......................................................................................................................................................
If you wish to make comments on the proposals you may do so at the above event and/or in writing to
............................................................................................................................................................
and no later than...............................................................................................................................................

This notice does not relate to a planning application, Comments should not be made to Belfast City Council. Any comments made to the prospective applicant are not representations to the planning authority. If a planning application is subsequently submitted to Belfast City Council, normal neighbour notification and publicity will be undertaken at that time and you will have the opportunity to make formal representation regarding the proposal at that time.

Notes

This advert must be placed in a local newspaper at least seven days prior to the date of the event.

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