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Regional Planning - Development Plans and the RDS

Regional Development Minister, John Spellar MP, and Angela Smith MP, Minister for the Environment, have issued a joint statement, Development Plans and Implementation of the Regional Development Strategy, to end uncertainty about the importance of emerging development plans in deciding planning applications.

The Ministers explained that new development plans, unlike their predecessors, must be in general conformity with the Regional Development Strategy. Decisions made under the provisions of older plans, pre-dating the RDS and made less relevant by the passing of time, could however undermine the achievement of these outcomes.

Some of the long term directions for the future growth of Northern Ireland, set out in the Regional Development Strategy, may be being compromised by decisions based on development plans drawn up before the new Strategy was agreed. The statement seeks to clarify the weight that should be accorded, in considering new development proposals, to the provisions of an emerging development plan drawn up within the context of the new directions, set out in the Regional Development Strategy. This will help assist in the implementation of the Strategy and enable the resultant benefits to be realised.