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Planning guidance document

Guidance on how to submit an application by email

Last updated: 11 June 2020

Contents

Introduction
How to submit a new application
How to submit amended plans by email
Decisions
How to submit a request for a pre-application discussion by email
Acknowledgement of your submission
Further advice
Appendix 1
Appendix 2

Introduction

This guide provides advice on how you can make a planning application to Belfast City Council by email. It is extremely important that you follow this guidance when submitting your application otherwise there may be delays in processing it. Each of the steps in this guide must be followed. A simple flow chart showing this process is provided at Appendix 1.

We encourage you to submit your application by email at this time due to COVID-19. We can still accept applications by post, however, as officers are working remotely these will take more time to deal with. Please note that our office is closed to the public and we are unable to receive hand-delivered applications at the moment. Therefore, the best way of getting your application to us is submitting it by email.

How to submit a new application

Please make sure you follow the steps below when making a new application by email.

Step one

Please use our Application Checklist, which provides guidance on the information that you need to submit with your planning application.

The information we need falls into two categories.
Basic requirements – this information is required by law and we cannot process your application without it.
Other supporting information* – additional information we need to fully assess your application, which will give you a better chance of getting permission.

Please note that the following applications will not be processed where *Other supporting information requirements are not met.

  • Major development
  • 10 Residential units or above
  • Commercial proposals of 1,000 sqm or more
  • Sites of 0.5ha and above

Step two

Complete the appropriate form and save in PDF format. You can view our Planning Fees and Forms page to find the right form. Most application forms can be found on the Planning Portal NI website (we provide a link from our page). However, we require you to use our bespoke Belfast City Council forms for applications for:

  • Proposal for Application Notice (PAN);
  • Discharge of Condition; or
  • Non Material Change.

Note: We recognise that for applications submitted by email it may not be possible to sign the certificate of ownership and declaration. As an alternative this can be done by way of a covering email from the applicant/agent confirming that the certificate of ownership and declaration are signed. The covering email must confirm which of the certificates A-E applies and include the relevant statement within it.

Please note: we may in due course require you to submit a hard copy of the certificate and will contact you if this is the case.

Step three

All plans and drawings must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Each file should be in PDF format and must be no more than 10MB in size.
  • To assist us uploading the documents, the following naming convention must be used: Site Address_Plan Name_Existing or Proposed. For example: 9 Adelaide Street_Elevations_Proposed.pdf
  • Plans must clearly specify the scale for each plan or drawing and include a scale bar for each scale used on the page (e.g. 1:2500, 1:1250, 1:1500, 1:100 etc.). You must also specify the size at which the original plan or drawing was produced (e.g. A2, A3, A4 etc).
  • Plans and drawings should be appropriately labelled (e.g. site location plan, existing block plan, proposed block plan, existing elevations, proposed elevations etc.). Elevations must be annotated: North, South, East, West etc.
  • If the drawing contains existing and proposed floor plans, please ensure the proposed floor-space is coloured/washed differently to make the proposed changes clearer. This enables the fee to be calculated accurately.

Step four

Supporting documents such as covering letter, Design and Access Statement, strategies and reports should be submitted in PDF format so that they cannot be edited. Each file must be a maximum of 10mb in size, and use the following naming convention:
Site address_Document name. For example: 9 Adelaide St_Noise Assessment

Step five

We welcome photographs of the site and its immediate context such as neighbouring buildings. Whilst this is not a substitute for a site visit, site photographs may help in our assessment of the application. Each file attachment should not exceed 10mb.

Step six

Householder applications1 should include where possible, a scaled and dimensioned “angles test” as set out in the PPS 7 Addendum: Residential Extensions and Alterations – see Appendix 2 of this guide. This will help us assess the impact of a new extension on light to the adjacent property.

Step seven

Calculate the appropriate fee and pay by BACS using the payment details below. To enable us to cross reference your payment with your application you must include the site address as a reference in your BACs transfer. Failure to do so will mean that the fee cannot be allocated to your application and it will be deemed invalid.

Payee: Belfast City Council – Planning
Reference: Site address
Sort Code: 20 05 94
Account No: 20522031
Address: Barclays Corporate, 6th Floor, Donegall House, 7 Donegall Square North, Belfast, BT1 5GB

Step eight

For applications which do not attract a flat fee, details of fee calculations must be provided including a breakdown of floor-space fee calculations. All measurements should be metric and based on external gross floor-space. Please note that officers will validate applications based on the information submitted with the application using a digital measuring tool. If the fee is later found to be incorrect then the application process will be suspended pending the correct payment being made.

Step nine

Submit your application by email to planning@belfastcity.gov.uk. In the covering email please
confirm when the planning fee was paid by BACS. You can use a third party website to share larger documents if you require, for example WeShare or DropBox. You will receive an email acknowledgement from our Business Support team to confirm receipt of the application. We may require hard copies of your application later in the process and we will contact you if this is the case.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer: Please note that we may request additional information to facilitate the processing of your application, including paper copies of documentation for manual assessment, at any time during the processing of your application. We may also require the correction of fees during the application process or after a decision has been made.

How to submit amended plans by email

Amended plans and additional documentation can also be submitted by email. You must ensure that these are submitted using the above guidelines and sent to planning@belfastcity.gov.uk. You must quote the application reference number and site address in the subject bar of the email. We may require hard copies later in the process and we will contact you if this is the case.

Decisions

We are issuing decision notices for all application types electronically by email – a hard copy will not be provided.

How to submit a request for a Pre Application Discussion (PAD) by email

You can also submit a PAD by email following Steps 3 to 9 (inclusive) for submitting applications. Details of our PAD service, PAD request form and fees can be found on our website.

Acknowledgement of your submission

You should receive an initial acknowledgment of your email submission within 5 working days. If you have not heard from us please contact planning@belfastcity.gov.uk or call 028 9055 0510. We are currently unable to acknowledge applications submitted by post.

Further advice

If you require further advice on submitting an electronic planning application, please email
planning@belfastcity.gov.uk with brief details of your enquiry including your name, address and a contact telephone number. Alternatively, if you do not have access to email, please call 028 9050 0510.

Appendix 1

Process Map for Submitting Applications by Email

  1. Use our Application Checklist to confirm the information you need to provide to us
  2. Complete the correct application form and save as a .pdf
  3. Ensure that plans, drawings and documents follow our guidelines
  4. Each file to be named in accordance with the naming convention and <10mb size
  5. Include site photographs showing the site in context with its surroundings
  6. Payment of planning fee (where required) by BACS transfer
  7. Provide breakdown of floor space fee calculation for applications with a non-flat fee
  8. Email your application to planning@belfastcity.gov.uk
  9. We will send you an acknowledgement within 3 working days
  10. We will contact you and request further information if necessary

Appendix 2

Angles Test for Householder Applications (PPS7)
Householder Applications for an extension, conservatory or garage should include an Angles Test drawing showing the impact of the proposal on light to windows in the adjacent property. An example of an Angles Test drawing is provided below and is an extract from PPS 7 Addendum: Residential
Extensions and Alterations. The angles test drawing must be to scale, show the scale and indicate the metric distance between the nearside of the extension and the centre of the neighbour’s window. Please refer to paragraphs A32 to A37 (inclusive) of the PPS7 Addendum for further information.

Angles Test Single Storey example

Angles Test Two Storey example

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