Policy Forum for Northern Ireland

Planning reform in Northern Ireland: progress, economic development and forward strategy

Thursday, 23rd March 2017


Taking place two years after the transfer of planning powers to local authorities, this conference will provide an opportunity to consider latest thinking on ways to address the key challenges which planners, applicants and local councils have faced - including the reported failure of planning offices within local authorities, on average, to meet statutory targets for processing major development applications, local applications, and in concluding enforcement cases.

Delegates will also review lessons learned over the past two years, and how effective the changes have been more widely in furthering the policy aim of a more local, accountable and effective planning system.

Further sessions will discuss themes emerging from the responses to the newly formed Department for Infrastructure’s call for evidence on the strategic planning policy for Development in the Countryside and Renewable Energy, and its consultation on the review of permitted development rights.

The agenda also looks at the way forward for the Department developing a strategic planning policy which can act as a driver for local and regional economic growth, and consider next steps in the role of local authorities in urban regeneration, town planning and economic development.

Guests of Honour

Angus Kerr

Director, Planning Policy Division, Department for Infrastructure, Northern Ireland Executive

Trevor Rue

Deputy Chief Commissioner, Planning Appeals Commission

Guests of Honour

Angus Kerr

Northern Ireland Executive, Director, Planning Policy Division, Department for Infrastructure

Trevor Rue

Deputy Chief Commissioner, Planning Appeals Commission


William Humphrey MLA

Chair, Committee for Infrastructure, Northern Ireland Assembly

Jenny Palmer MLA

Member, Committee for Infrastructure, Northern Ireland Assembly


Professor Geraint Ellis

Chair, Environmental Planning and Director of Research, Sustainable Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast

Senior speaker confirmed from BT Group

Dr Tom Woolley

Architect and Educational Consultant, Rachel Bevan Architects

James Miller

Senior Planning Services Manager, North Ayrshire Council

Brendan Martyn

Partner, Pinsent Masons

Glyn Roberts

Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association

Maura Fox

Head of Planning, Derry City and Strabane District Council

Alison McCullagh

Director of Regeneration and Planning, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council

Diana Fitzsimons

FRICS MRTPI, Senior Planning Practitioner; Planning Consultant; Visiting Professor, Ulster University and Chair, Fold Housing Association

Eunan Quinn

Senior Planner, Donegal County Council