Finding out about developments
After the planning application has been made, your council will advertise the proposed development in a local newspaper. They 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 at the local area planning office.
The planning application notice will give a deadline for commenting on the application. Before visiting the planning office, you should make an appointment. You can also see the application online at the Planning NI website
Making your views known
Representations should normally reach your council as soon as possible and certainly before the application is discussed at an internal Development Management Group meeting and a preliminary opinion formed.
Representations should be made in writing to your local planning office. When giving your views, you should concentrate on relevant planning matters. To help the office deal with your comments, include the planning application reference number and set out clearly those matters which you want the council to consider when it makes its decision.
After the decision is made
After a decision is made on a planning application, if you have commented on a proposal, the council will write to tell you about the decision and explain the reasons for taking that decision. Only the planning applicant can appeal a planning decision.
For example, if your neighbour was granted permission to build an extension, you cannot appeal the decision even if you objected to the application.
Complaining about planning decisions
Complaints about how a planning application was handled should be made to your local council using their complaints procedure.
In some cases, your complaint can be referred to the Northern Ireland Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will expect you to have used the council’s complaints procedure before they will accept a complaint.
The Ombudsman can review the planning process, focusing on the administrative actions of the council and its interaction with you.
For more information on making a complaint, contact your local council or visit the Ombudsman’s website: