Some staff are working from home and in the office as a hybrid arrangement and continue to provide a full range of functions to ensure service delivery. Officer site visits and Planning Committee Member site visits continue for all cases. External meetings are considered as required and we also engage fully with customers through virtual meetings, written communication and phone calls. With the launch of the new regional Planning Portal system on 5th December 2022, all planning applications should now be submitted online via the following link: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/articles/new-planning-portal#Submit%20a%20planning%20application and we can issue Decision Notices electronically. This new paperless system makes the planning process more accessible for all customers to submit applications as well as search, track and comment on all applications received. You will find further information about the new Planning Portal under the following DfI link: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/articles/new-planning-portal.
Many local planning applications received are delegated whereby decisions will be taken by appointed planning officers. Other planning applications, including major development, will be referred to the Council’s Planning Committee for determination at which stage all interested parties, including objectors and supporters, can participate in the process. Further information regarding Planning Committee procedures is outlined below and you can contact our office if you wish to speak to a member of the Planning Department at any stage of the process by email to: [email protected], in writing to the Planning Department, DCSDC, 98 Strand Road, Derry, BT48 7NN or by contacting our office at 📞028 71 253253.
Arloesi Planning: Independent Review of Derry and Strabane Council’s Planning Service
Arloesi Planning has been appointed to conduct an independent review of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s planning service. Our work will consider the findings of the 2022 NI Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee reports on the planning system in Northern Ireland, as well as reviewing progress since the independent review of the Council’s planning service that we undertook in 2017.
As a vital part of this service review, we would appreciate you taking a few minutes to provide your feedback here by Friday 26th May 2023.
We will not be reviewing individual decisions but will be exploring recurring themes and concerns that arise.
All responses will be anonymised.
Planning Committee Meetings
Committee Meetings are held as hybrid meetings for Elected Members with Senior Officers in attendance and are held in Council Chambers at Derry Road, Strabane and at the Guildhall in Derry, alternating monthly. The next Planning Committee Meeting will be held in Guildhall Chambers, Derry, on Wednesday 7th June 2023 at 2pm and will reconvene on Thursday 8th June 2023 at 2pm if required. Planning Committee Meetings are open to members of the public and arrangements are made to facilitate registered external speakers to join the meeting remotely via Webex or in person in the Council Chambers.
If you wish to request Speaking Rights at any Planning Committee Meeting, please register your request in writing by 12 noon two working days prior to the meeting. You can do so by email to: [email protected], in writing to the Planning Department, DCSDC, 98 Strand Road, Derry, BT48 7NN or by contacting our office at 📞028 71 253253. You will find full details regarding role and operation of Planning Committees in our ‘Protocol for the Operation of Planning Committee’ . Committee Meetings are also livestreamed and proceedings can be viewed via the Council's YouTube Channel.
The scheduled list of applications for discussion at forthcoming Planning Committees are published on this website at: https://www.derrystrabane.com/Services/Planning one week prior to each Committee Meeting.
The Planning Enforcement Service
The Enforcement Service continues to progress and deal with complaints in line with Council's Enforcement Strategy.
Local Development Plan (LDP)
The Independent Examination (IE) hearing sessions for the Council’s LDP draft Plan Strategy took place over four weeks between 5th September and 4th October 2023, conducted by Commissioner O’Neill of the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC).
The details of the IE, including its Examination Library and Matters Arising, can be viewed on the PAC website here. In particular, the PAC Examination Closing Notes state that the Commissioner expects to deliver the IE Report to the DfI Regional Planning team by April 2024.
The Council’s overall Timetable for producing the LDP can be viewed on this LDP webpage here. It anticipates that the Council will receive the IE Report and LDP Plan Strategy Direction from DfI in the summer of 2024, followed by Adoption of the LDP Plan Strategy by the end of 2024 or early 2025. The Council’s Planning LDP team is currently doing the initial work tasks required for the Adoption and implementation of the LDP Plan Strategy, as well as the preparatory work on the LDP Local Policies Plan (LPP). The Local Policies Plan is required to be ‘consistent’ with the adopted LDP Plan Strategy.
New Regional Planning IT System
The new regional Planning IT System was launched on Monday 5th December 2022 and is operational across 10 Councils. This has replaced the previous NI Planning Portal and provides a modern streamlined service and is more accessible for customers to engage with the planning process, offering online ability to submit planning applications, review and track ongoing applications, make comments and report breaches of planning control. Since the launch of the new system, 71% of all planning applications we have received were submitted online and we are keen to encourage and support customers to increase this further. You will be able to find full information in the following DfI link: New Planning Portal | Department for Infrastructure (infrastructure-ni.gov.uk).
We are also issuing electronic Decision Notices which will improve service provision and efficiency for our customers.
We are aware that there have been a number of initial challenges and problems identified by users of the new system and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. However, many of these have been addressed and efforts to resolve any outstanding issues are ongoing. Please find below some useful advice and update on some of the main issues identified:
Problems updating an online application once submitted – there are plans for a system fix to enable amendments to be made to online planning applications after they have been submitted (e.g. amended drawings). However, this will be a wider update across the UK and will take place later in 2023. In the meantime, customers can submit amended plans/drawings and further details to our office by post (DCSDC, 98 Strand Road, Derry, BT48 7NN) or by email ([email protected]). On receipt these will be uploaded and made available on our system by our officers.
Mapping function – the new system offers improved mapping features and some issues raised about searching functionality are currently being addressed and should be resolved by end of June 2023. Customers may also find the following demonstrations provide helpful advice: Demo video - Start a new application online(external link opens in a new window / tab) and Public Register - application search(external link opens in a new window / tab)
Dates for representations – during data transfer to the new system, the date of all representations prior to 5th December 2022 defaulted to 26th November 2022. Further investigation is ongoing to address this issue.
Missing files / data – a software update will also address the issue of accessing documents for Outline Planning Applications and requests from customers to view information they cannot find on the system, can be directed to our Planning Office at 02871 253253.
Payment functionality – customers who submit online applications will make immediate payment by debit/credit card or bank transfer at the time of submitting an application. Cheques and cash payments will also remain available for any customers who submit paper application forms.
Further frequently asked questions are also available at: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/articles/planning-portal-faqs and there are a number of links to assist customers in the various functions of the new system below:
We hope you will find the new Portal System makes your engagement with our planning processes much more efficient and if you have any further queries or continue to experience any difficulties with the new Planning Portal, you can contact our Planning Department at: [email protected] or by telephoning our office at 02871 253253.
TREE PRESERVATION ORDERS
For planning information, application forms, planning fees and planning applications please visit the planning portal: http: //www.planningni.gov.uk/
MAKING REPRESENTATIONS ON APPLICATIONS
if you would like to attend the Planning committee to exercise your speaking rights and make representation on a particular application please contact:
PROPOSED CHANGE TO REGIONAL PROPERTY CERTIFICATE CHARGE