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Agency improves appeals handling times in Ireland

Words: Roger Milne
Ireland / iStock_000022788127

During 2019 there was a significant improvement in handling times for normal appeals, reports An Bord Pleanála.

Last year the planning agency achieved an overall compliance rate of 69 per cent in dealing with appeals within the statutory objective period (SOP) of 18 weeks. 

This was a markedly better performance than in 2018, when the compliance figure was only 39 per cent, according to the latest annual report.

The average number of weeks for dealing with normal planning appeals was 18.4 weeks, on average just three days over the SOP target and notably down from the 2018 average of 22.4 weeks.

Last year was another busy one for dealing with Strategic Housing Development (SHD) applications, with a total of 119 valid applications received, a significant increase on the 39 applications received in 2018. 

In all, 82 applications were formally decided by An Bord Pleanála, with permission granted in 68 cases (83 per cent) and permission refused in 14 cases (17 per cent). 

Overall, 68 decisions were granted for a total of 16,607 residential units (4,334 houses and 12,273 flats); 5,019 student bed-spaces; and 208 ‘shared accommodation’ bed spaces. 

Despite the increase of SHD applications, the agency recorded 100 per cent compliance with the statutory decision timelines (16 weeks, or 24 weeks for cases where an oral hearing is held). 

A total of 26 strategic infrastructure applications were received from local authorities, private developers, and statutory undertakers, up 30 per cent on the 2018 figures. Decisions were made on 21 proposals during 2019. 

An Bord Pleanála chairperson Dave Walsh welcomed the improved performance. “Clearing the case backlog which had built up over the last couple of years has enabled us to significantly improve our compliance with the statutory objective target of 18 weeks for planning appeal cases, meeting the target in almost 70 per cent of cases,” he said.

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