Commenting on other applications
If you wish to have your say on a planning application, you will have the opportunity to make your views known to DOE Planning before they make a decision on the application.
Finding out about developments
After the planning application has been made, DOE Planning will advertise the development in at least one local newspaper. It will also write to people who occupy buildings on land adjoining the application site boundary, and which are also within 90 metres of it, inviting comments. The details of the proposals, including architects' drawings, will be available for inspection at the local area planning office. It is always advisable to make an appointment before any visit to the local area planning office.
Making your views known
Representations should normally reach DOE Planning as soon as possible and certainly before Key Stage 2 of the planning process. For full details of the various key stages of the planning process, see below:
After the decision is made
After a decision is made on a planning application if you have commented on a proposal DOE Planning will write to tell you about the decision and explain the reasons for taking that decision. It is not possible for a third party to appeal against a planning decision. For example, if your neighbour was granted permission to build an extension you could not appeal against it - even if you objected to the application at an earlier stage of the process.
Complaining about planning decisions
In some cases, complaints about how DOE Planning handled a planning application can be referred to the Northern Ireland Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will expect you to have used the DOE Planning's Complaints Procedure before they will accept a complaint.
The Ombudsman has no power to alter the decision, even if DOE Planning has not been entirely correct. However, in cases where the Ombudsman decides that DOE Planning has acted incorrectly in handling a planning matter, he can order the Department to pay damages to the complainants.
For more information please see attached links on the Ombudsman and the DOE Planning guidance leaflet on making a complaint: