Planning Service

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Planning Service[1]
Legal status Active
Headquarters Millennium House
17-25 Great Victoria Street
BT2 7BN[2]
Region served
Northern Ireland
  • Deputy Secretary - Planning and Local Government Group: Ian Maye[3]
  • Director of Strategic Planning Division: Anne Garvey[3]
  • Director of Local Planning Division: Fiona McCandless[3]
  • Director of Planning Policy Division: Maggie Smith[3]
  • Acting Director of Local Government Policy Division: Liz Loughran[3]

The Planning Service is an Executive within the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland), which regulates the development and the use of land in the public interest.[4]


The Town and Country Planning Service was established in 1973 when the responsibilities of the local planning authorities briefly passed to the Ministry of Development and then to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning before being assimilated into the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. The Department's statutory planning functions are currently contained in the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 and associated subordinate legislation.

The Town and Country Planning Service became an Executive Agency (known as "the Planning Service") of the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland on 1 April 1996.

Following devolution of authority to the Northern Ireland Executive in 1998, the "Department of The Environment for Northern Ireland" was renamed "The Department of The Environment". Some of the functions previously undertaken by the "old" Department were transferred to other Northern Ireland Departments. Planning Service remains an Executive within the Department of The Environment.


  • Provide operational planning policy, Development Plans and high quality professional planning decisions.
  • Improve delivery of services, having regard to the effective use of available resources, Section 75 of and Schedule 9 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and associated human rights and equality policies.
  • Improve the quality of services available to customers in line with the principles of Service First - The New Charter Programme and the Agency’s Charter Standards Statement.
  • Provide an accurate and speedy land and property information service to the conveyancing community
  • Ensure that Development Plans, Planning Policies and Development Control promote the orderly and consistent use of land.
  • Obtain best value and efficiency in the management of the Agency.
  • Develop and maintain effective financial and management information systems
  • Maintain high levels of motivation, skills and performance of staff
  • Explore opportunities for and introduce, where practicable, Public Private Partnership arrangements


  1. ^ "Glossary: P". Planning NI. Retrieved August 6, 2011. Planning Service - Section of the Department of the Environment responsible for planning. 
  2. ^ "Contact Us". Planning NI. Retrieved August 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Planning and Local Government Group". Planning NI. Retrieved August 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ "The Planning (General Development) Order 1993". The Department of the Environment. Retrieved 2 January 2009. The Planning (General Development) Order (Northern Ireland) 1993 (the GDO) performs two main functions. Firstly, it provides for procedures and other matters relating to the processing of applications for planning permission and for Certificates of Lawful Use or Development. Secondly, it grants permission for classes of development, described as permitted development in Schedule 1 to the GDO, without the need to apply for planning permission under the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order (“the 1991 Order”). 

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