Responsibility for planning in Northern Ireland is shared between the 11 local councils and the Department for Infrastructure (the Department).
Role of the Councils
The 11 councils in Northern Ireland are responsible for:
- Local development planning – creating a plan which will set out a clear vision of how the council area should look in the future by deciding what type and scale of development should be encouraged and where it should be located;
- Development management – determining the vast majority of planning applications;
- Planning enforcement – investigating alleged breaches of planning control and determining what action should be taken.
If you have a query relating to a local planning application in your area or regarding the planning process, please contact the council’s planning office where experienced officers will be able to advise you. Contact details for the councils’ planning offices are available on the NI Direct website, a link to which is provided below.
For further information on the NI planning system, including details of current application forms, please visit the Planning NI website.
Please note: Details of current planning fees for Northern Ireland are specified in legislation, links to which are provided on the Planning legislation page. An explanatory note for applicants which helps to explain the current fees including when reduced fees or exemptions may be applicable, has also been provided and is available in our publications section.
Role of the Department
The Department is responsible for:
- Oversight and performance monitoring
- Planning legislation
- Regional planning and policy
- Determination of regionally significant and ‘called-in’ planning applications
- Departmental development plans
- Planning guidance
- Participation in the Strategic Design Group (SDG)
If you have a query relating to a regionally significant or 'called-in' planning application or about planning procedures or initiatives being progressed by the Department, please contact us.
View Planning Applications Online
You can search for and view planning applications in Northern Ireland online via the Public Access site.
Public Access contains details of planning applications received since 1973 and includes copies of plans, maps drawings and other associated documents for applications received from mid-2010 onwards.
If you wish to view the details of any application not on Public Access, please contact the relevant local council’s planning office.
If you encounter any errors or technical problems when using Public Access, please report these to the local council’s planning office for which the planning application relates. If you encounter the same errors or technical problems when viewing applications from different council districts, there is no need to report the error to each council. Instead, please include this information when reporting the incident to at least one of the councils.
Any other general queries regarding Public Access should be directed to Planning.Portal@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk
Making a complaint about our service
We take complaints and allegations of wrong-doing very seriously and place great importance on what our customers have to say. We understand that our level of service must meet high standards in all that we do, and if we fall short of these there should be processes in place to allow you to raise your concerns or make a complaint.
If you are dissatisfied about the service you received from the Department or the action we took or failed to take, please let us know. A link to the Department’s complaints procedure is provided below. Any issues you raise will be dealt with in a professional and expedient manner.
If you have a complaint about the service you received from one of the local councils, please refer to that council’s own complaints procedure in the first instance.