FAQs: Fermanagh and Omagh Local Development Plan 2030
What is the Local Development Plan (LDP)?
A new LDP for the Fermanagh and Omagh district is currently being prepared by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
The LDP, when adopted, will set the planning policy framework and land use proposals that will guide development decisions in the Fermanagh and Omagh district up to 2030. It will replace current development plans which were produced by the former Department of the Environment more than 30 years ago.
The LDP is being prepared in accordance with the Planning (Local Development Plan) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015.
The LDP is prepared within the context of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Corporate Plan and the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan.
It will be made up of two key documents; the ‘Plan Strategy’ and the ‘Local Policies Plan’.
Why is the Local Development Plan (LDP) important?
The LDP is important as it will:
– provide a 15-year plan framework to support the economic and social needs of the council district while providing for the delivery of sustainable development;
– facilitate sustainable growth by co-ordinating public and private investment to encourage development where it can be of most benefit to the well-being of the community;
– allocate sufficient land to meet society’s needs;
– provide an opportunity for all stakeholders, including the public, to have a say about where and how development within their local area should take place;
– provide a plan-led framework for rational and consistent decision-making by the public, private and community sectors and those affected by development proposals; and
– deliver the spatial aspects of the Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan.
What has happened so far?
The Local Development Plan Timetable – Fermanagh & Omagh District Council (fermanaghomagh.com) sets out the key stages of, and indicative timescale for, the production of the Fermanagh and Omagh Local Development Plan 2030.
Key stages undertaken to date include:
Preparatory work started in 2015 with the production of background and topic papers (on issues such as Retail, Housing, for example) to provide a detailed evidence base.
2. Preferred Options Paper
The Council then produced and consulted on ‘the Preferred Options Paper’. The Preferred Options Paper identified the main planning issues within the district and included options to address these. It also identified a Preferred Option to progress with.
3. Draft Plan Strategy
Following consultation on the ‘Preferred Options Paper’ the Council published and consulted on the draft Plan Strategy. A number of proposed changes were then made to the draft Plan Strategy following the consultation exercise.
The draft Plan Strategy is accompanied with a number of other reports, including a Sustainability Appraisal so that economic, social and environmental factors are considered also.
The Council considered the draft Plan Strategy to be ‘sound’ and submitted it to the Department for Infrastructure in accordance with the Planning (Local Development Plan) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015.
4. Appointment of Independent Examiner
The Department for Infrastructure appointed the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) to undertake the ‘Independent Examination’ stage of the draft Plan Strategy. The Independent Examination hearing sessions start on Tues 18 Jan 2022.
What stage is the Fermanagh and Omagh Local Development Plan at?
What is an ‘Independent Examination?
An Independent Examination is a public examination of the ‘draft Plan Strategy’ undertaken by an independent examiner, to test its “soundness”.
Tests of soundness
The tests of soundness relate to content, conformity and the process by which it has been produced, the tests of soundness can be found at https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/infrastructure/dppn-6-soundness-v2-may-2017_0.pdf
Planning Appeals Commission
The Department for Infrastructure appointed the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) as an independent body to conduct the Independent Examination.
The Independent Examination includes ‘hearing sessions’.
The hearing sessions stage starts on Tuesday 18 January 2022 and will run to the end of March 2022. A detailed programme for the hearing sessions is available on the PAC website https://www.pacni.gov.uk/fermanagh-omagh
Anyone who submitted a representation as part of the consultation on the draft Plan Strategy and requested to speak at the Independent Examination hearing sessions has been contacted by the Planning Appeals Commission and invited to take part.
Due to the ongoing pandemic the sessions will be held virtually and will be streamed online. For further information please visit the PAC website at https://www.pacni.gov.uk/fermanagh-omagh
What happens after the Independent Examination stage?
The Independent Examination hearing sessions are due to conclude at the end of March 2022.
Once the hearing sessions are complete the Planning Appeals Commission will prepare an advisory report. The advisory report must make recommendations and provide reasons for those recommendations.
This advisory report will be sent to the Department for Infrastructure for its consideration. The Department will then make a direction to the Council regarding the adoption of the draft Plan Strategy, to either adopt as originally prepared, adopt with modifications or withdraw the draft Plan Strategy. The timeframe for the Department issuing the direction to the Council is not yet known.
In the interim, the Council will begin initial preparatory work on the next stage, which is the second plan document, the Local Policies Plan. The Local Policies Plan will set out the Council’s local policies and site specific proposals in relation to development and use of land in our district.
How do I keep up to date?
You can keep up to date by checking the PAC website https://www.pacni.gov.uk/fermanagh-omagh for information regarding the hearing sessions.
All related documents are available to view here https://www.fermanaghomagh.com/services/planning/local-development-plan/document-library/
The hearing sessions can be watched via YouTube (link will be available on the PAC website) https://www.pacni.gov.uk/fermanagh-omagh
Who oversees the process and who is involved in the preparation of the LDP?
The Department for Infrastructure has an oversight and scrutiny role over the entire process.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is required to prepare and submit the Local Development Plan to the Department for Infrastructure as part of the LDP process.
A number of other parties are also involved in the process. These include:
Consultation Bodies: Consultation bodies include Government departments and other Councils (including those in the Republic of Ireland) which share a district boundary with Fermanagh and Omagh. Consultees play a key role in providing input at various stages of the plan preparation process.
Local Community: Public participation is crucial in identifying relevant issues and local views. The local community has an important role to play in the process of the development of the LDP.
How can I get involved in the LDP process?
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s LDP Statement of Community Involvement https://www.fermanaghomagh.com/app/uploads/2021/01/FODC404-Statement-of-Community-Involvement-Revised-June-2020.pdf sets out the key stages for public engagement and informs the community of how and when they can become involved in the overall Local Development Plan process.
Local Development Plan Timetable – Fermanagh & Omagh District Council (fermanaghomagh.com)
FO Examination Library | Planning Appeals Commission (pacni.gov.uk)
You may also contact the Development Plan Team on 0300 303 1777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.