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


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

A Thank You to Our Supporters

The Minister of Environment, Mark H Durkan, has now agreed to provide the full level of grant aid due this year for our independent Planning Advice and Capacity Building service.  This news was enthusiastically welcomed at our Annual General Meeting held today and we now want to thank all our members, groups we work with and the many other people who have supported the case for our funding throughout this year. 

Expressions of support and the high regard groups have for the quality of the advice services we provide had a huge impact on the Minister’s decision.  It was also significant that support came from all communities and all parts of the region and from across the entire political spectrum.   We are determined to continue to provide advice and support to those who would not otherwise have access to impartial professional planning services and we look forward to benefitting from the continued support of the groups and people we help.

12 November 2015