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The Planning (Inquiry Procedure) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2015

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2.—(1) In these Rules—

“the 2011 Act” means the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011;

“the 2006 Rules” means the Planning (Inquiry Procedure) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2006;(1)

“application” means an application as described in section 235(1) and 235(4) of the 2011 Act and the “applicant” is the person making such an application;

“appointed representative” means a person appointed under section 233(1) or (2) and section 234(1) or (2) of the 2011 Act;

“certificate” means a certificate issued by the Secretary of State or Department of Justice under section 235 of the 2011 Act;

“closed evidence” means evidence which is subject to a direction;

the Department” means the Department of the Environment;

“direction” means a direction given by the Secretary of State or Department of Justice under section 232(2) or 232(4) of the 2011 Act;

“document” includes a photograph, map or plan;

“electronic communication” has the meaning assigned to it by section 4 of the Electronic Communications Act (Northern Ireland) 2001(2);

“inquiry” means a public local inquiry in relation to which these Rules apply;

“inspector” means a person appointed by the Department to hold an inquiry;

“land” means the land or building to which an inquiry relates;

“open evidence” means evidence which is not closed evidence;

“outline statement” means a written statement of the principal submissions which a person proposes to put forward at an inquiry;

“pre-inquiry meeting” means a meeting held before an inquiry to consider what may be done with a view to securing that the inquiry is conducted efficiently and expeditiously, and where two or more such meetings are held references to the conclusion of a pre-inquiry meeting are references to the conclusion of the final meeting;

“relevant notice” means the Department’s written notice informing the applicant that an inquiry is to be held;

“starting date” means the date of—

(a)

the Department’s written notice to the applicant that it has received all the documents required to enable it to entertain the application; or

(b)

the relevant notice,

whichever is the later;

“statement of case” means, and is comprised of, a written statement which contains full particulars of the case which a person proposes to put forward at an inquiry and a list of any documents which that person intends to refer to or put in evidence;

“statement of common ground” means a written statement prepared jointly by the Department and the applicant, or the appointed representative and the applicant, which contains agreed factual information about the proposal, which is the subject of the application;

“statutory party” means—

(c)

a person mentioned in section 45(4) of the 2011 Act; and

(d)

a party mentioned in Part 2 of Schedule 3 to the Planning (General Development Procedure) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015(3)

whose representations the Department is required to take into account before determining the application to which an inquiry relates.

(2) In these Rules, and in relation to the use of electronic communications for any purpose of these Rules which is capable of being carried out electronically—

(a)the expression “address” includes any number or address used for the purposes of such communications, except that where these Rules impose an obligation on any person to provide a name and address to any other person, the obligation shall not be fulfilled unless the person on whom it is imposed provides a postal address;

(b)references to statements, notices or other documents, or to copies of such documents, include references to such documents or copies of them in electronic form.

(3) Paragraphs (4) to (8) apply where an electronic communication is used by a person for the purpose of fulfilling any requirement in these Rules to serve, give or send any statement, notice or other document to any other person (“the recipient”).

(4) The requirement shall be taken to be fulfilled where the statement, notice or other document transmitted by means of electronic communication is—

(a)capable of being accessed by the recipient;

(b)legible in all material respects; and

(c)sufficiently permanent to be used for subsequent reference.

(5) In paragraph (4) “legible in all material respects” means that the information contained in the statement, notice or document is available to the recipient to no lesser extent than it would be if served, sent or given by means of a document in printed form.

(6) Where the electronic communication is received by the recipient outside the recipient’s business hours, it shall be taken to have been received on the next working day; and for this purpose “working day” means a day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday.

(7) A requirement in these Rules that any document should be in writing is fulfilled where that document meets the criteria in paragraph (4).

(8) A requirement in these Rules to send more than one copy of a statement, notice or other document may be complied with by sending one copy only of the statement, notice or other document in question.

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