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


Putting People in the Lead through Quality Participatory Budgeting

Our next learning workshop is on the theme of Community Led Participatory Budgeting (PB) and we are delighted to announce we will have guest speakers from the Gorbals in Glasgow.  The workshop will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, 16 June 2021 from 10.00 am to 11.30 am.  

What can you expect at the workshop? 

  • An introduction to Participatory Budgeting (PB) and further details on the Putting People in the Lead through Quality PB Project;
  • Hear from guest speakers Jo Speirs Community Budgeting Officer and Community Panel representatives from the Gorbals Ideas Fund in Glasgow; 
  • Help shape a PB Charter to support 'Quality' PB processes;
  • Sign up to become a PB Works Network Member. 

The Gorbals PB process is designed, developed and delivered by residents who live in the community, sit on the Community Panel and believe that people should be more involved in the decisions that affect their lives  

Please register to attend the workshop in advance.  You may join it from 9.50 am.


10 June 2021

Planning Your Place: Getting Involved - Engagement Sessions (25 May 2021)

Community Places and the Department for Infrastructure are co-hosting four online engagement events on Tuesday, 25 May 2021.  The sessions form part of the work of the Planning Engagement Partnership (established by Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, to explore ways of improving the quality and depth of community engagement in planning).  All our member groups and people we have given planning advice to are invited to attend and give their views on how community engagement in planning can be improved. 

The four online sessions – each lasting 90 minutes – are themed as follows:

  • successful placemaking (10.00 am);
  • communicating creatively about planning (12.30 pm);
  • open and inclusive engagement (4.00 pm); and
  • engaging communities digitally (6.30 pm).

A wide range of expert speakers will share their own experiences of community engagement in planning, on how local communities can become involved in how their areas are being planned and how the Covid-19 pandemic has increased creativity and innovation in community engagement.  Discussion and issues raised at the sessions will feed into recommendations to improve community engagement in planning and will be presented in a report to the Minister.

You can attend any or all of the sessions.  Further information (including how to register) is available by clicking on the image below.


17 May 2021

Review of Planning Policy on Renewable Energy

Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, has announced a review of the region’s strategic planning policy on renewable energy.  She said:  

“The planning system has played a key role to date in helping to achieve and exceed Northern Ireland’s renewable electricity target and I want to ensure that my Department’s regional planning policy remains up to date, robust and fit for purpose.  The planning system is where different and opposing interests often meet and there will be opportunities as the review progresses to hear from everyone who has an interest in this policy area. I want to ensure regional planning policy for renewable and low carbon energy truly furthers sustainable development and delivers in the long-term public interest”.

The Minister emphasised that the review will be informed by extensive public and stakeholder engagement to ensure that the new policy is up to date, fit for purpose and has the support of local communities.   Community Places has given advice to a number of community groups concerned about renewable energy proposals (including the proposal for a 33 turbine windfarm at Doraville which the Minister did not grant planning permission for), we thus look forward to the outcome of this review.  


22 April 2021

Minister Refuses Planning Permission for Doraville Wind Farm

DfI Minister Nichola Mallon has refused planning permission for Doraville Wind Farm which would have seen 33 turbines erected in the Sperrins Mountains.  Community Places assisted Broughderg Area Development Association (BADA) object to this wind farm in the Sperrins Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The Association first approached us in 2015 for advice on objecting to the planning application and we provided advice and support throughout this long-running and complex case which culminated in a Public Inquiry held in September 2019 by the PAC (Planning Appeals Commission). 

In reaching her decision the Minister said: 

“The PAC report indicates that the scale of the proposal and the sheer magnitude of the associated change has the potential to detract from local people’s sense of place and connection to the land.  My aim is to improve people’s lives, not add to their burden so taking all of this into account, and in line with the PAC recommendation, I have decided to refuse this application.”


27 October 2020

AGM 2020

Community Places held its first virtual Annual General Meeting on 20 October 2020.  The ongoing restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic prohibited us from meeting face to face this year and we held the meeting via Zoom.  We were delighted to welcome representatives from our member groups in Belfast, Coleraine, Newry, Carrickfergus, Newtownards, Trillick, Derry and Rathlin Island to the meeting.  Staff also logged in from their remote working locations.  Chaired by Raymond Jackson of the Confederation of Community Groups Newry and District the meeting discussion was lively and it was encouraging to interact with friends old and new.  We very much appreciate the ongoing support of our members in these challenging times. 

Members agreed the audited accounts for March 2020; re-appointed the Board of Directors and auditors; and adopted this year’s Annual Report

Our staff continue to work remotely.  Please email us if you need to get in touch.  Or call our temporary mobile number (07783 649288).

23 October 2020