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Planning embraces a new digital future

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has welcomed plans that will enhance its range of digital services with the award of a contract for a new regional planning IT system.  

Work on the new Portal is being taken forward jointly with the Department for Infrastructure and nine other local councils.

The contract to deliver a modern, user-friendly experience has been awarded to TerraQuest as well as providing on-going support for the new system until at least 2030.

Commenting on the announcement, Alderman Phillip Brett, Chair of the Council’s Planning Committee said: “I welcome the contract award to TerraQuest as it marks a key stage in the development of a new system to replace the existing Northern Ireland Planning Portal that is reaching the end of its operational life.
“This joint investment of £14m by the Council and its partners will benefit both customers and staff alike. The new modernised system will facilitate a more responsive and efficient planning service across both local and central government, and critically will provide for a much enhanced digital future, including the submission of planning applications online.

“This new technology and online processing will enhance services to our residents, and support economic recovery in the context of COVID 19.”

The current Portal supports the planning system with over 12,000 planning applications per year across Northern Ireland. It is used by some 700 staff, over 500 consultees and thousands of citizens annually.

It is anticipated that the new system will roll out towards the end of 2021 and be fully operational in early 2022.

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