A-Z: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Local Development Plan Draft Plan Strategy

The Local Development Plan guides investment in Belfast, setting out how the city should develop in the future.  The draft Plan Strategy sets out the overall aspirations for the future development of Belfast and policies to be used in assessing planning applications. 

Draft Plan Strategy and associated documentation


The draft Plan Strategy formal consultation ran from Thursday 20 September 2018 to Thursday 15 November 2018. 

All submissions received in relation to our draft Plan Strategy for the Belfast Local Development Plan were open for counter representations from 12noon on Friday 1 March 2019 to 12noon on Friday 26 April 2019. 

There is no opportunity to make any further representations at this stage.

The representations and counter representations received are available for inspection during normal office hours at our Belfast Planning Offices (Cecil Ward Building, 4-10 Linenhall Street, Belfast), or at the following links: 

Local Development Plan - draft Plan Strategy

Local Development Plan – draft Plan Strategy

Local Development Plan - draft Plan Strategy summary
An easy read 12 page summary of the draft Plan Strategy. 

Local Development Plan - draft Plan Strategy leaflet
This leaflet summarises the draft plan strategy.

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)

The EQIA of the new Belfast LDP is being carried out in three phases, in alignment with the development plan process. 

The first phase EQIA was the Preferred Options Paper (POP) and was completed in July 2017. 

The second (current) phase EQIA is on the draft Plan Strategy. The EQIA considers how equality of opportunity can be promoted through the implementation of the draft LDP policies. The draft EQIA report consider how each policy in the draft Plan Strategy might have an effect on the statutory groups set out in Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and, in addition, any potential impacts on good relations, having regard to the scope of the LDP and the key inequalities that the draft Plan Strategy can influence. 

The draft EQIA will be finalised following public consultation and the adoption of the Plan Strategy. It will also help to shape equality assessment going forward in the third phase of the LDP process – the Local Policies Plan.

Draft Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)


Sustainability Appraisal

A sustainability appraisal is a systematic process that must be carried out during the preparation of a Local Plan. Its role is to promote sustainable development by assessing the extent to which the emerging plan, when judged against reasonable alternatives, will help to achieve relevant environmental, economic and social objectives. It can help make sure that the proposals in the plan are the most appropriate given the reasonable alternatives. It can be used to test the evidence underpinning the plan and help to demonstrate how the tests of soundness have been met.

The formal consultation period for the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) opens on Thursday 20 September 2018 and close at 5pm on Thursday 15 November 2018.

Sustainability appraisal incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment

The Habitat Regulations Assessment

The Habitats Regulations Assessment is required by The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 (as amended). It has been undertaken by the Shared Environmental Service on behalf of Belfast City Council in respect of the Belfast Local Development Plan 2035 in accordance with the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC).

The Habitat Regulations Assessment

Technical supplements

A suite of technical supplements have been prepared to draw together the evidence base that has been used to inform the preparation of the Local Development Plan (LDP) 2035. This should be read in conjunction with the LDP to understand the rationale and justification for the policies proposed within the draft Plan Strategy.

They build on the suite on 18 thematic topic papers prepared and published alongside the Preferred Options Papers (POP) last year, which established the baseline position as at April 2017 and identified the key issues that need to be addressed in the LDP. 

The technical supplements therefore update this baseline position and sets out the evidence base that has informed each of the polices within the draft Plan Strategy. Whilst each of the technical supplements can be read separately, there are inevitably some important interrelated matters and background evidence.

Technical supplements

Individual maps of each designation referred to within technical supplement 17 are available to download in PDF format. 

You can also use our online map portal to view the existing zonings and designations of relevance to the draft Plan Strategy:


Housing Market Analysis update, Belfast City Council Area, NIHE, September 2017
The Housing Executive published 11 Housing Market Analysis (HMA) from 2011 to 2013. This included the Belfast Metropolitan Housing Market, the largest housing market in Northern Ireland. These HMAs were not based on council boundaries but on housing market areas, defined using Travel to Work Areas.

The Housing Market Analysis (HMA) update provides an update on the Belfast Metropolitan HMA, by examining the current housing market and housing issues. Unlike the original Belfast HMA, this focuses on the Belfast City Council area, in order to provide an accessible evidence base which can be referred to when taking decisions on housing and planning strategies, at the council level.

Housing growth options report – Belfast City Population and Housing Growth Study, Turley, October 2016 
The Belfast housing growth options report considers the future population and housing growth of Belfast, with a reasonable range of potential population and household growth scenarios presented.  It was published as part of the Preferred Options Paper (POP) consultation.

Size and type of housing needed – addendum to the Belfast City housing growth options report, Turley, November 2017
This Addendum to the housing growth options report (see above) provides additional detail on the size and type of housing likely to be required in Belfast under the recommended growth scenario.  This was commissioned following broad support received for the level of growth proposed as part of the Preferred Options Paper consultation.

Residential densities: A comparative study, April 2017
 The study defines and compares residential densities across a number of schemes that help outline and establish appropriate thresholds for sustainable residential development. 

Belfast City Council – Urban Capacity study, Arup, March 2018
The Urban Capacity study is an important part of the evidence base for the LDP. It provides a high-level assessment of the potential capacity to accommodate future housing and economic development within district, including the type of housing and density of development appropriate to each site.

Belfast Housing Land Availability (Housing Monitor), Belfast City Council 
The Housing Monitor measures how many additional homes are built in the city each year. It helps to inform the preparation of our new LDP, contributing to future decisions about where houses should be built. Summary reports are published annually.

Retail and leisure capacity study 
This retail and leisure capacity study provides guidance on the capacity for new retail and leisure development in Belfast, as well as strategic and operational advice relating to the scale, nature and location of this development over the plan period.

Office sector study 
The office study sets out the existing policy context and provides an overview of the various office locations within the city. It analyses the current office market including overall supply and demand. It also measures the uptake of office floor space in the city centre and compares this to forecasted demand, to project the floor space requirements for this sector over the plan period. 
This information is critical to ensure that we can make informed policy recommendations and ascertain spatial thresholds to help ensure the role of Belfast city centre as the regional capital is maintained whilst allowing for appropriate growth elsewhere in the city.  

Assessing employment space requirements 
The Assessing Employment Space Requirements document considers how the demand for employment space is likely to be affected by forecast employment growth in Belfast.  It was published as part of the Preferred Options Paper (POP) consultation.
 Rural Needs Impact Assessment
The Rural Needs Act (NI) 2016 (the Act) provides a statutory duty on public authorities to have due regard to rural needs when developing, adopting, implementing or revising policies, strategies and plans, and when designing and delivering public services. 

The purpose of the Act is to ensure that public authorities have due regard to the social and economic needs of people in rural areas when carrying out certain activities and to provide a mechanism for ensuring greater transparency in relation to how public authorities consider rural needs when undertaking these activities.

Countryside Assessment
The Countryside Assessment provides an overview of the existing environmental assets in the Belfast City Council area and how these are protected. It includes an environmental assets appraisal, a landscape assessment, a development pressure analysis, and a settlement appraisal.


More information

If you have any queries on accessing the documentation, contact the Planning Office at

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