Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure

Ministerial Advisory Group

In September 2007 DCAL established the Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) for Architecture and the Built Environment (A+BE) in Northern Ireland. MAG’s primary role is to advise the Minister responsible for DCAL on the implementation and development of the A+BE policy. The Chair is Arthur Acheson. and new members will be appointed shortly.

Arthur Acheson
Rachel Bevan
Dr Patrice Cairns
Deirdre Greaney
Andrew Haley
Lara Kinneir
Mary Laheen
Alwyn Riddell
Nicola Waddington

Collectively they will bring a varied range of expertise to MAG, to include architecture, architectural conservation, landscape architecture, procurement, sustainable development and town planning.

The Chair and Members of MAG are Ministerial appointments.

A Call-off List of expert advisors was recruited in February 2009 to support the MAG in the key area of design review and on an ad-hoc basis to assist in other areas where the MAG requires additional specialist expertise. Expert advisors are not members of MAG.


Consultation Toolkit - Work in Progress

The MAG is developing guidance on Creative Consultation for the Strategic Investment Board

An on-line toolkit will provide NICS departments and agencies with the methodologies and support to develop and implement more creative and innovative approaches to community engagement and consultation.

Creative Consultation aims to inform and inspire all those tasked with the creation and management of a consultation process. It relates specifically to medium to large capital projects, undertaken for the public sector in Northern Ireland.

Going beyond the minimum requirements of consultation brings many benefits. Not only does it greatly reduce risks asssociated with project delivery it also contributes to the sustained success of its outcome.

To be effective, consultation must be integrated throughout a project timeline, rather than confined to one specific stage. This should include consultation at the earliest inception stage.

All successful consultation processes share a number of common principles. These should be kept constantly in mind whilst creating a consultation and through every stage of delivery.

Creating a consultation needs careful planning and preparation. These steps should be used to help guide this process.

When finalised the consultation toolkit will be accessible on the DCAL website.


The Principles of Sustainable Design Guidance prepared by the MAG The Principles of Sustainable Design (pdf 1.47MB)

MAG 'Well Into The Second Term Report (pdf 362KB) 'Well Into Second Term'

End of First Three Years Report

MAG The First Three Years Report (pdf 381KB) mag_first_3_year_published_pdf.pdf

Mid Term Report

In June 2009, half way through MAG's initial term of appointment a report detailing MAG's activities was published entitled 'Raising Expectations' (pdf 419KB) Raising Expectations

MAG Responses to Public Consultations:

MAG response to DOE Consultation on Revised Draft Planning Policy Statement 15 Review of PPS15 - 'Planning and Flood Risk' (pdf 313KB)

MAG response to the Northern Ireland Committee on the Local Government Reorganisation Bill  Local Government Reorganisation Bill (pdf 93.2KB)

MAG response to Belfast City Council Belfast City Masterplan Review Belfast City Masterplan Review (pdf 181KB

MAG response to DSD Consultation Community Asset Transfer (pdf 39.8KB)

MAG response to DRD Consultation on Future Railway Investment: A Consultation paper (pdf 87KB) Future Railway Investment  April 2013

MAG response to DSD Consultation on: Facing the Future: Housing Strategy for Northern Ireland 2012-2017 (pdf 463KB) Facing_The_Future: Housing_Strategy_For_Northern Ireland_2012-2017__

MAG response to DSD Public Consultation on Urban Regeneration and Community Development Framework (pdf 81.4KB) Urban Regeneration and Community Development Framework

MAG response to the Belfast City Council's consultation on the Draft Cultural Framework for Belfast 2012-2015 (pdf 151KB) Consultation on the Draft Cultural Framework for Belfast 2012-2015

MAG response to Belfast City Council Draft Investment Programme Consultation (pdf 459KB)Belfast City Council Draft Investment Programme Consultation

MAG response to DOE Consultation on Demolition and Development (pdf 305KB) Consultation on Demolition

MAG response to DRD Consultation on Active Travel Future for Northern Ireland (pdf 395KB) Active Travel Future for Northern Ireland

MAG response to OFMDFM Consultation on the Social Investment Fund (pdf 3MB) OFMDFM Consultation on The Social Investment Fund

MAG response to the DRD Consultation on Route Options for Belfast Rapid Transit (pdf 4MB) Route Options for Belfast Rapid Transit

MAG response to the public consultation on the draft supplementary planning guidance to PPS21 "Building on Tradition, A sustainable design guide for the Northern Ireland Countryside" July 2011 (201KB ) PPS21

MAG response to the Review of the Regional Transportation Strategy (pdf 2.24MB) Review of the Regional Transportation Strategy

MAG response to (Draft) PPS24 Economic Considerations (pdf 91.1KB) Draft PPS24

MAG response to (Draft) PPS23 Enabling Development and Best Practice Guidance Assessing Enabling Development (pdf 121KB) Draft PPS23

MAG response to the Public Consultation 10 Year Review of the Regional Development Strategy (Shaping Our Future) (pdf 228KB) 10 Year Review of the Regional Development Strategy (Shaping Our Future)

MAG response on Local Government Reform Consultation on Policy Proposals (pdf 1.65MB) Local Government Reform Consultation on Policy Proposals

Planning Bill: - Oral Evidence from MAG Chair to the Committee for the Environment Official Report (Hansard) Link (356.30KB) planning_bill_web_link.doc

Response to DOE Committee for the Environment on the Planning Bill Northern Ireland 2010/2011 (pdf 294.48KB) Planning Bill Northern Ireland 2010/2011 pdf

Response to DRD Consultation 'Belfast on the Move' 29 November 2010 (pdf 254KB) Belfast on the move pdf

Response on the Public Consultation Document relating to Draft Planning Policy Statement {PPS} 21 Sustainable Development in the Countryside March 2009 (pdf 318KB)draft_planning_policy_statement__pps_21_sustainable_development_in_the_countryside.pdf

Response on the Consultation on Reform of the Planning System in Northern Ireland 02 October 2009 (pdf 175KB) reform_of_the_planning_system.pdf

Response to the Consultation on Criteria for Listing Proposed Revisions to Annex C of Planning Policy Statement 6 05 July 2010 (pdf 118KB) criteria_for_listing_proposed_revisions_to_annex_c_of_planning_policy_statement_6.pdf

Response to Antrim Coast and Glens AONB Draft management Plan 4 February 2008 (pdf 85KB) Antrim Coast and Glens AONB Draft Management Plan

Design Reviews

Design Reviews form a major role and activity for the MAG. To date three forms of review have taken place; Pre-planning application, Post Planning application referrals and referals by Government Funders.

Links to the Draft Design Review Guide (pdf 95KB) Design Review A Guide to Project Teams

Registration Form(Word 52KB )Register of a Scheme for Design Review

Client Satisfaction Survey (Word 104KB)Design Review Client Satisfaction Survey

MAG Symposium

Civic Stewardship Symposium Ligoniel Activity Centre 21 November 2013 (pdf 2.98 MB) Civic Stewardship...............doing more with what we've got

Academy of Urbanism Event Summary Report (11.2KB) Civic Stewardship Symposium -AoU Event Summary Report

Civic stewardship techniques have been offered to all district councils during 2013 – 2014 by the MAG.

Study visits were specially tailored by the MAG with individual Councils to reflect particular places, issues and opportunities in each district.

The work was further developed in the first Civic Stewardship Symposium on 21 November 2013 which is supported by the Interim Report. The Symposium was held in a Neighbourhood Renewal Area and offered Councils and local community groups a further opportunity for action learning and exchange of experience between participants.

The symposium was organized by the MAG and the Landscape Institute of Northern Ireland, with assistance from the Academy of Urbanism, Belfast City Council and Architecture + Design Scotland. The full day symposium was a diverse and active day consisting of two presentations by inspirational and challenging speakers, structured round room discussions, walking action learning visits around the local area in groups hosted by community leaders, an interactive lunch, conclusions and resolutions.   

MAG anticipates a final report in March 2014 and welcomes all comments, ideas and intelligence on civic stewardship, both local and international.

Presentations may be assessed below:


Frazer Macleod, Glasgow City Council

“All places matter – The Local Authority as Facilitator”

Pauline Gallacher, Neilston Development Trust

“An Ordinary Passionate Place”

'Planning for Places'

The Navan Centre, Armagh, 7 September 2010

Report and Resolutions (pdf 69.5KB 'Planning for Places'

The MAG believes that by working with councils it can raise expectations for good design in buildings and places across Northern Ireland.

Supported by the Armagh City and District Council, the MAG held a symposium 'Planning for Places' 'in The Navan Centre, Armagh on 7 September.

Those invited to attend included senior council and government officials, community representatives and professionals

The programme involved a number of presentations by local and national speakers including CABE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. CABE has been working with English local authorities to see how design quality can best be embedded in emerging strategies.

Presentations can be accessed below:


Kathy MacEwen, Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) (pdf 1.68 MB) Kathy MacEwen Presentation

Jim Thompson, Planning Manager Development Plans The NI Planning Service (pdf 385KB) Jim Thompson Presentation

Trevor Osborne, The Trevor Osborne Property Group (pdf 1.83MB)Trevor Osborne Presentation

John McGrillen, Belfast City Council (pdf 2.24 MB)John McGrillen Presentation

Henry Johnston, Department for Social Development (pdf 385KB)Henry Johnston Presentation

Trevor Martin, Belfast City Council (pdf 833 KB)Trevor Martin Presentation

Peter Carr, Belfast Metropolitian Residents' Group (pdf 54.9 KB)Peter Carr Presentation

John Murphy, Department of Environment Local Government Reform Division (pdf 43.0 KB) John Murphy Presentation

Emily Smyth, Member of the MAG (pdf 3.97 MB) Emily Smyth Presentation

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