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RTPI welcomes announcement of a tall building policy for Northern Ireland

13 January 2010

The Royal Town Planning Institute in Northern Ireland has welcomed the recent announcement in the Belfast Telegraph that the DoE are to publish a new policy on tall buildings. The RTPI has been active in encouraging policy guidance on the way tall buildings are to be handled in Northern Ireland.

Brian Sore, RTPI Policy Officer for Northern Ireland stated

\"In 2008 at an RTPI conference on dealing with planning applications for tall buildings in Northern Ireland we were pleased that Minister Arlene Foster promised to bring forward a specific policy for tall buildings. In recent times Northern Ireland planners have been unfairly criticised for delaying or refusing planning permission for tall buildings and so it is good that we now have a policy in place to guide the process. 

This new guidance has been informed by how other cities, nationally and internationally, have handled high-rise developments, but the Institute has cautioned that from our experience major applications for tall buildings need careful consideration in the context of spatial plans for the urban environment. In Belfast and Londonderry, the scale of tall buildings is not as intense as other cities, but location, type, design and impact all need to be carefully assessed\".

Recent approvals for iconic buildings in Northern Ireland have shown that planners are continuing to consider and process these major applications, but the RTPI welcomes the application of a consistent and robust policy that will provide clarity for both planners and developers and prevent abortive applications. Much has also been achieved since 2008 to streamline the application process, but the Institute wants to see the  proposed Planning Reforms implemented as soon as possible to rationalise the system and improve on Departmental linkages and statutory consultations