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

Preferred Options Paper (POP)

The Preferred Options Paper (POP) was published on 26 January 2017 and was open for consultation until 5pm on Thursday 20 April 2017.

The POP outlined:

  • the vision, objectives and key planning issues affecting the city.
  • possible options on how to deliver new development and planned growth.
  • what our preferred options are and the rationale for that preference.

The POP was a key opportunity for the public and other stakeholders to shape the future plan. 

Consultation responses were carefully considered and have been presented in the POP Public Consultation Report.

Consultation papers

Preferred Options Paper (POP)
The POP outlines the vision, objectives and key planning issues affecting Belfast and considers options for growth.

Preferred Options Paper summary
An easy read introduction to the POP briefly outlining the key issues. 

Preferred Options Paper youth summary
A summary document aimed at youth and educational audiences.

Preferred Options Paper leaflet
Outlines the purpose of the POP and answers key questions on the process.

Sustainability Appraisal

A Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) were published on 26 January 2017 and both were open for consultation until 20 April 2017.

The SA promotes sustainable development by assessing the extent to which the emerging plan will help to achieve the environmental, economic and social objectives. The SEA is to ensure a high level protection of the environment and to integrate environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of plans. Together, these processes will ensure that the options outlined in the Preferred Options Paper (POP) are the most appropriate and sustainable, having regard to the reasonable alternatives. 

Sustainability appraisal (Incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment) - Scoping report
The scoping report sets out the evidence base to inform the appraisal, establishes the SA framework and objectives, and includes feedback from the consultation body.

Sustainability appraisal (Incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment) - Interim report
The interim report consists of the SA scoping report and using the SA Framework, undertakes an assessment of reasonable alternatives to enable the determination of options in the Preferred Options Paper.

Sustainability appraisal (Incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment) - Interim report non-technical summary
The non-technical summary has been prepared to accompany the interim report.

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)

The Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) report sets out how we intend to promote equality of opportunity through the implementation of Phase 1 – Preferred Options Paper, in accordance with Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

This EQIA has been conducted at a strategic level. It assesses the Preferred Option Paper in a holistic way and does not include details of the equality impacts of every individual element within the local development plan. Equality screening will be carried out on these as we move forward with Phase 2: Planning Strategy and Phase 3: Local Policies Plan. 

The issues identified in this EQIA will act as a guide to the development of subsequent assessments, reports and consultations.

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)
The EQIA Identifies the planning policy areas where the POP is likely to have impacts on Section 75 groups, and what mitigating impacts are included to alleviate them.

Supporting documents

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.

Belfast Housing Growth Options report
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.

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.

Topic papers
A series of 18 topic papers prepared in early 2016 to set out baseline information used to inform the Preferred Options Paper.


If you have any queries on accessing the documentation, contact the Planning Office on 028 9032 0202 extension 2255.

POP consultation report

We carefully considered all consultation responses and have presented these in the POP Public Consultation Report.

The report provides a summary of the representations received relating to the vision and strategic aims as well as highlighting the responses to the preferred options. 

The Sustainability Appraisal (incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment) Interim Report (SA) and Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) also went out for consultation during the same time and responses are all available to view in this report.

The completion of the POP Public Consultation Report marks an important milestone in the Local Development Plan (LDP) preparation.

The POP representations will help us prepare for the next stage, the draft Plan Strategy, which will go out for consultation early 2018.

Contact us
Belfast Planning Service
028 9050 0510
Belfast Planning Service
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Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street