The Bartlett School of Planning


Planning in Northern Ireland – Where are we now?

30 November 2017, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Bartlett School of Planning Public Lecture Series

The second instalment of the 2017/18 Bartlett School of Planning Public Lecture Series given by Fiona McCandless MRTPI, Chief Planner & Deputy Secretary, Department for Infrastructure Northern Ireland

Event Information

Open to





John Tomaney


Roberts G.06 Roberts Building Torrington Place London WC1E 7JE


The planning system in Northern Ireland was significantly reformed in 2015 when planning powers transferred from central government to eleven newly formed local councils. Fiona led this complex change programme and will provide her personal reflections on the success or otherwise of the new two tier planning system. She will comment on whether the key objectives were achieved which sought to improve decision making and put planning at the heart of the place shaping agenda to secure the well-being of communities.

Central government in Northern Ireland has also undergone transformation in the number and shape of Departments and the planning function in Northern Ireland now sits within the Department for Infrastructure (DfI). Fiona will comment on the opportunities to be gained from DfI and the improved integration of planning, transportation, flood risk and water infrastructure. This has influenced a new approach to regional infrastructure delivery and Fiona will comment on how this is being taken forward and the relationship to the overall planning framework.

Northern Ireland is also finalising the Programme for Government which addresses key societal challenges. Fiona will address the role planning has to play in achieving the PfG outcomes with a particular focus on the outcome ‘Connecting people and opportunities through our infrastructure’. This recognises the importance of high quality infrastructure in creating a sustainable natural environment, a prosperous economy and a better connected society.



Fiona was appointed Chief Planner in 2014 and is responsible for advancing strategic planning, policy development and legislation in Northern Ireland. She provides advice and support to the Infrastructure Minister and Northern Ireland Assembly on all planning related matters and manages regionally significant planning applications. She oversaw the major reform programme of the planning system in 2015 with the transfer of the majority of planning responsibilities from central to local government. Prior to that Fiona was Director of Local Planning Division in Department of Environment and responsible for the overall leadership and delivery of planning functions within all local planning offices across Northern Ireland. Before joining the Northern Ireland Civil Service in 1998 Fiona worked in a number of local authority planning posts in the Republic of Ireland including Dublin, Donegal and Roscommon. As Deputy Secretary in Department for Infrastructure Fiona also has responsibility for the Department’s Water and Drainage Division and Driver and Vehicle Agency. She is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and both a member and past Chair of the RTPI (NI).


The event will be followed by a reception in the North Cloisters

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