New planning portal

The NI Department of Infrastructure launched a new website to streamline the planning application process.

In this article we cover:

  • Details of the new planning portal
  • Which local authorities are participating
  • Video of how to use the portal
  • Plans to introduce validation checklists

Online paperless submissions are now the norm in NI thanks to a new planning portal launched in December.

You can log on to submit and review planning applications online, report breaches of planning control and submit requests for regional planning applications.

Planning applications in NI can currently take months to process. You need to apply for planning permission if you plan to build a house.

The new Planning Portal is now live for 10 of the 11 Councils in NI. Mid Ulster District Council provides its own online service for anyone wishing to submit or comment on a planning application in the Mid Ulster area. 

The new portal was funded by the Department for Infrastructure and replaces the Northern Ireland Planning Portal (NIPP) which had reached the end of its operational life.

With over 12,000 planning applications submitted each year, the Department says this is the largest joint IT project between central and local government to date in NI.

Anyone wishing to submit a planning application or track or comment on an application will need to create a new user account when using the system for the first time, including those who currently hold a Public Access account.

TerraQuest is the company contracted to deliver and support the system.

Validation checklists

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd also intends to introduce validation checklists for planning applications to further help speed up the process.

The checklists will aim to improve the quality of applications being submitted and speed up the overall processing times for applications. It is only when an application becomes valid that the timeframes for processing it kick in.

“The introduction of validation checklists would go a long way to improving the quality of planning applications entering the planning system,” said Minister O’Dowd.

“This new process would give applicants the clarity they seek when lodging a planning application, by clearly specifying at the outset what information is required for applications of a particular type, nature, scale or location. This new measure should also speed up the process by reducing the requests for additional information.”  

The public consultation closed on January 6, 2023. There no details as to when the checklists will be rolled out.

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. Email

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