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Northern Ireland local councils to receive planning powers by 2015

The Northern Ireland government has set a date for transferring planning powers to local governments

Environment Minister Alex Attwood has announced an agreement which will shift a package of functions to the 11 new councils from central government departments in April 2015.

Powers will transfer in planning, roads, urban regeneration, community development, housing, local economic development and spot listing of buildings. These are currently all dealt with at a central government level.

The measures to allow the transfer were set out in the Planning (Northern Ireland) Act 2011 and form part of a major reform programme for the NI planning system first announced in 2007.

Atwood said: ‘This is all about bringing power closer to citizens. The more power in local hands, the more democratic our society and the more likely that local people will get the local services they need.

‘With planning and development plans transferred, councils will have the opportunity to shape the life of the council area so that it is better planned and offers better job potential. They will have economic powers strengthened.

‘Getting all of this right will help transform the way we plan and sustain our cities, towns and rural areas while boosting our economy and protecting our environment.’

Powers to be transferred to local councils:

  • Planning
  • Local development plan functions
  • Development control and enforcement
  • Roads
  • Off street parking
  • Urban regeneration
  • Community development
  • Environment improvement schemes
  • Neighbourhood renewal
  • Community development programmes
  • Housing
  • Local economic development
  • Local tourism
  • Delivery of the EU Rural Development Programme
  • Authority to spot list
  • Authority to draw up local lists of buildings that are of architectural and historic interest

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