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

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Date and notification of inquiry

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8.—(1) The date fixed by the inspector or planning appeals commission for the holding of an inquiry shall be, unless they consider such a date impracticable, not later than—

(a)subject to paragraph (b), 22 weeks after the starting date; or

(b)in a case where a pre-inquiry meeting is held pursuant to rule 5, 8 weeks after the conclusion of that meeting.

(2) Where the inspector or planning appeals commission consider it impracticable to fix a date in accordance with paragraph (1), the date fixed shall be the earliest date after the end of the relevant period mentioned in that paragraph which they consider practicable.

(3) Unless the inspector or planning appeals commission agree a lesser period of notice with the applicant and the Department, they shall give not less than 4 weeks written notice of the date, time and place fixed by them for the holding of an inquiry to every person entitled to appear at the inquiry.

(4) A written notice shall be taken to have been given by the inspector or planning appeals commission for the purposes of paragraph (3) where they and a person entitled to appear at the inquiry have agreed that notice of the matters mentioned in that paragraph may instead be accessed by that person via a website, and—

(a)the notice is a notice to which that agreement applies;

(b)the inspector or planning appeals commission has published that notice on the website;

(c)not less than 4 weeks before the date fixed by the inspector or planning appeals commission for the holding of the inquiry, the person is notified of—

(i)the publication of the notice on a website,

(ii)the address of the website, and

(iii)the place on the website where the notice may be accessed, and how it may be accessed.

(5) The inspector or planning appeals commission may vary the date fixed for the holding of an inquiry, whether or not the date as varied is within the relevant period mentioned in paragraph (1); and paragraphs (3) and (4) shall apply to a variation of a date as they would apply to the date originally fixed.

(6) The inspector or planning appeals commission may vary the time or place for the holding of an inquiry and shall give such notice of any variation as appears to them to be reasonable.

(7) The inspector or planning appeals commission may require the Department to take one or more of the following steps—

(a)not less than 2 weeks before the date fixed for the holding of an inquiry to publish a notice of the inquiry in one or more newspapers circulating in the locality in which the land is situated;

(b)to send a notice of the inquiry to such persons or classes of persons as they may specify, within such period as they may specify.

(8) Every notice of inquiry published or sent pursuant to paragraph (7), shall contain—

(a)a clear statement of the date, time and place of the inquiry and of the powers enabling the Department to cause an inquiry to be held for the purpose of determining the application in question;

(b)a written description of the land sufficient to identify approximately its location;

(c)a brief description of the subject matter of the application; and

(d)details of where and when copies of any documents sent by and copied to the Department pursuant to rule 6 may be inspected.

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