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Belfast Local Development Plan and Supplementary Planning Guidance formally adopted from today

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Date: 02 May 2023

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Council’s Local Development Plan Strategy 2035 has been formally adopted from today (Tuesday 2 May 2023).

This follows Council endorsement of March’s Strategic Policy & Resources Committee decision at its meeting in April.

Since the transfer of planning powers in April 2015, Council has been routinely determining planning applications ranging from modest domestic extensions through to major redevelopment schemes based on the suite of policies and plans that were a legacy from the former Department of the Environment and the Department of Infrastructure (DfI).

The Planning Appeals Commission (PAC), in its report on the Independent Examination of the plan to the DfI in September 2021, concluded that Plan Strategy was ‘sound’, subject to some minor amendments. Following further engagement and consultation, Council received the DfI Direction to adopt the modified Plan Strategy in March 2023.

A commitment was made during the Independent Examination of the draft Plan Strategy to consult on the proposed Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) documents after the release of the findings of the Examination and confirmation the policies within the plan would be progressed towards adoption.

The SPGs are non-statutory planning documents that support, clarify or illustrate, through examples, the basis and interpretation of policies included in the current planning policy framework including regional policy.  They are a material consideration in determining planning applications but do not in themselves contain policy provisions beyond what is set out in the plan. 

They must be read in conjunction with the Local Development Plan documents and the Strategic Planning Policy Statement (SPPS). They were prepared in conjunction with statutory consultees, government agencies and representatives from professional bodies.

The SPG documents address a myriad of planning issues including the approach to implementing social and affordable housing policies and mixed tenure housing including development viability. 

There is guidance on climate change measures for new developments, through sustainable design interventions including sustainable drainage systems, measures that support biodiversity and design approaches that are more people focused, where active travel is encouraged and local centres are protected is also reflected in the guidance.

Council approach to proposals for masterplanning larger sites, taller buildings in the city and employment land needs is also addressed. There is also an SPG on waste management and planning.

The supplementary guidance documents were agreed for formal adoption today (2 May) by Council’s Planning Committee at its April meeting.

The SPG documents are available to view at the Planning Service reception during normal public opening hours in Cecil Ward Building, Linenhall Street from today.

The Belfast Local Development Plan Strategy 2035 document and the Supplementary Planning Guidance documents are also available to view  at

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