Publication of the Strategic Planning Policy Statement for Northern Ireland

Monday, 9 November 2015

On 28th September 2015 the Department of the Environment published the Strategic Planning Policy Statement for Northern Ireland (SPPS).

The SPPS will eventually reduce 20 separate planning policy statements (PPSs) into one but for the moment the only PPSs cancelled by the SPPS are PPS1 General Principles, PPS5 Retailing and Town Centres and PPS9 The Enforcement of Planning Control.

The thrust of the SPPS is furthering sustainable development. It identifies 5 core planning principles that will help achieve this:

  • Improving Health and Well-being;
  • Creating and Enhancing Shared Space;
  • Supporting Sustainable Economic Growth;
  • Supporting Good Design and Positive Place Making; and
  • Preserving and Improving the Built and Natural Environment.


The SPPS’s Town Centres and Retailing policy introduces a town centre first approach and requires need and sequential assessments for certain applications.

Several paragraphs are ambiguous and it is unclear how the SPPS will affect retail proposals until appeal decisions on it start to emerge.