Independent and not-for-profit with 30 years' expertise in planning, community planning and engagement


Planning Advice Outreach Sessions

We’re continuing our free planning advice outreach events for people and community groups.  The next drop in session will be held on Wednesday, 6 September 2017 at the Holywell Trust, Bishop Street, Derry~Londonderry.  Drop in any time between 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm.  

Our planning staff will be available to provide free one-to-one advice on all types of planning issues in towns, rural areas and villages.  We can also provide advice on how to object to a planning application, how your local council deals with development built without planning permission and information on the planning system.  There is no need to make an appointment.  

If you are not able to drop in to the advice session you can telephone us for advice (9023 9444) or contact us by email (


Our free planning advice service is for people and communities who cannot afford private consultants.  We are part-funded by the Department for Infrastructure to provide this service.  

12 May 2017

Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan 2030

The Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan 2030 is the first to be formally launched.  Community Places worked closely with the Council and partners throughout all stages of the process.  The Plan launch was hosted by the Fire and Rescue Services and three other statutory partners introduced the Plan.  Council members and the Chief Executive all praised the collaboration exhibited by all the partners and the dedication of the council staff involved.  Barry Boyle, joint chair of the Community Sector Forum, outlined the extensive engagement process and the role of the Forum (which Community Places helped to establish recently).  For more on the launch and a copy of the plan see the council's website.  

30 March 2017

Sirocco and Casement Park Proposals

Two highly significant planning applications have been submitted to Belfast City Council this week.  The St Francis Group developers, based in England, are proposing an ambitious development for East Belfast which will extend the city centre via a linking pedestrian and cycle bridge connecting the Sirocco site with the Waterfront complex.

In West Belfast the Ulster Council of the GAA has revised its planning proposal for Casement Park which will be assessed by the Department for Infrastructure in line with Minister Hazzard's announcement in January.

1 March 2017

Re-thinking NIMBYism

Over the course of the last 18 months Community Places and Rural Community Network have been working on a ‘Re-thinking NIMBYism’ project in three rural areas across the region.  Adopting a Public Conversations Project methodology, we explored issues surrounding the siting of renewable energy infrastructure in communities which have benefited from renewable energy and in others where there is considerable objection to such proposals.

Often the views of communities to renewable energy proposals are characterised as a form of “NIMBYism” (not in my back yard).  We believe this fails to reflect the very real connections people have with their environment.  The research explored a range of attitudes and views to major renewable proposals helping to deepen understanding of community concerns and to inform recommendations to improve community engagement.  The project drew on the work of Professor Patrick Devine Wright who has researched the social and psychological aspects of the siting of new energy infrastructure in communities across the UK.

The report of the project makes a series of recommendations relevant to planners, political representatives, the renewable industry and local communities and supports a shift towards a more discursive and participative form of planning practice with the aim of reducing conflict, inequalities of power and to inform practical decision-making.  

You can see a video outlining the work of the project and download the Project Report and Executive Summary.

For further information contact Louise O'Kane at Community Places (9023 9444) or Aidan Campbell at the Rural Community Network (8676 6670).  

12 January 2017

Public Inquiry for Proposed Gold Mining Plant

Minister for Infrastructure, Chris Hazzard, has announced his intention to hold a public inquiry into a proposal for a gold mining plant near Greencastle in Co Tyrone.  Pre-application community consultation has been undertaken but no planning application has yet been submitted.  Community Places has been providing advice to the Save Our Sperrins group which is opposing the proposed mining development.  The group’s grounds for objection include protecting the Sperrins as a community and tourism asset; the proposed use of cyanide during the gold mining process; and the visual and environmental impacts of the proposal.  

In acknowledging that the planning application will be complex and controversial, the Minister said: “I will ultimately be the final decision maker, but I would like the benefit of a public inquiry and report which has independently considered the views of stakeholders, including the local community, and has scrutinised the information provided by all interested parties”.   

13 December 2016