Comprehensive development schemes

Land and buildings in a defined area are acquired by the Department through its powers for the purpose of regeneration through redevelopment by the public sector, other agencies or by private sector developers.

What is a comprehensive development scheme?

Comprehensive development schemes come about in a few different ways. Sometimes the Department identifies derelict or underused land and/or buildings in an area they plan to regenerate and sometimes it comes as a request from communities, politicians, developers and planners.  

The scheme is planned in a comprehensive way, taking into account views of the public, councils and development or Masterplans for the areas. Once the site has been assembled it can be used by the public sector, other agencies or by the private sector with the goal of improving and regenerating the area. This may be done by way of a developers brief in which companies are asked to bring forward ideas for the development of the site.

An example of a comprehensive development scheme

The largest example of a comprehensive development scheme in Northern Ireland would be Victoria Square. This area was chosen as the site for a major redevelopment in the centre of Belfast following an assessment of four potential sites.  

The necessary land and buildings were acquired to facilitate the scheme and a developer was selected from a development brief exercise.  The scheme was privately funded and has created half a million square feet of prime retail space, including high quality department stores, together with apartments, offices, restaurants, leisure, civic and cultural facilities, open space and car parking.  

The goal of this project was to help strengthen the position of Belfast city centre as a premier regional shopping destination, well placed to compete with other European cities, whilst also providing a high quality safe urban environment, equally attractive to investors, employees, residents and visitors.

The process

This describes the steps usually taken to complete a comprehensive development scheme:

  • economic appraisal of the development scheme
  • identification of property owners
  • preparation of draft vesting order and development scheme
  • public consultation
  • publication of vesting order and development scheme
  • negotiation with objectors
  • arranging public inquiry, if necessary
  • making vesting order and adopting development scheme
  • becoming owner of all properties within the CD area and taking responsibility for their future management and repairs
  • settlement of compensation for each property vested
  • co-ordinating arrangements for relocation of existing occupiers of vested properties
  • site clearance, demolition, infrastructure, environmental improvement work
  • disposal of sites in accordance with the development scheme either directly to the public sector, agencies or to the private sector by way of a developer's brief

Responsibility for comprehensive development schemes

Comprehensive development schemes, depending on location, are the responsibility of the following offices:

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