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


Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme 2016

The Rural Community Network has asked us to share details of the Rural Micro Capital Grant Scheme 2016 (Phase 3)

The Scheme (which is now open for applications) is funded under the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Programme. Micro capital grants of between £200 and £1,500 are available to rural community-led, voluntary organisations for projects tackling issues of local poverty and/or social isolation.  The total project cost must not exceed £3,000.  Projects must clearly address an issue of rural poverty and/or social isolation and applicants must provide a minimum of 15% match funding.  Projects must focus on one of the following three themes (1) Modernisation [of premises or assets]; (2) ICT; or (3) Health and Wellbeing.

The scheme is being delivered by the Rural Support Networks on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.  Application forms, guidance notes and further advice and information is available from the Rural Support Network in your council area.  The Scheme is open for applications until noon on 30 September 2016.

6 September 2016

Free Planning Advice - Holywell Trust

We continue to hold our planning advice sessions on the first Wednesday of each month in the Holywell Trust, Bishop Street, Derry~Londonderry – the session runs from 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm and the next one is on 7 September 2016

Our staff can provide advice on how to object to a planning application, how Derry City and Strabane District Council’s planning department deals with development that is 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, we can also provide planning advice by telephone (9023 9444) or by email ( 

22 August 2016

Community Participation in Planning - Aveiro Study Exchange

Participants from Milan, Aveiro and Belfast who took part in a study exchange to Aveiro in Portugal as part of the Erasmus+ Community Participation in Planning Project. The group discussed different forms of participation; explored good practice projects from Aveiro; and reflected on proposals for participation as part of the Vivó Bairro! initiative.

For more information on the project visit or contact Louise O’Kane, telephone: 9023 9444. 

10 June 2016

Planning and New Departments

Regional and Strategic Planning is now within the new Department for Infrastructure (DfI).  Staff in Planning Policy and Strategic Planning who were previously in the Department of Environment have all transferred to the new DfI.  For more details see this guide.

12 May 2016

Greater Belfast Planning Confusion Deepens

The successful court action brought by First Minister Arlene Foster against the decision of Environment Minister Mark H Durkan to approve BMAP deepens public confusion about the future planning of the Greater Belfast area.  Question marks now surround both planning policies and land zonings for housing, retail and economic development.  While media headlines focus on the John Lewis issue this is only one of the many implications of the decision which planners in Belfast and other new councils will be struggling to clarify in the coming months and years until they each put in place their own Local development Plans.

Further details at

Note: BMAP (Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan) covers not just Belfast but also large parts of Carrickfergus, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and North Down.  It was approved by Minister Durkan in September 2014.

14 March 2016