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Northern Irish councils’ performance on major applications plummets

Words: Roger Milne
Decrease / iStock-109190483

Councils in Northern Ireland are struggling to handle large planning applications, which are routinely taking nearly twice as long as the statutory 30-week target, according to the latest official figures collated by the Department for Infrastructure.

The figures – for 2018/19 – show that the average time for determining major projects was 59 weeks, an increase of nine weeks on the previous financial year. The average time for processing local applications during the same period was 14.8 weeks, just under the 15-week target.

These latest statistics reveal that there was a 3 per cent fall in planning applications submitted last year. During 2018/19, a total of 12,156 planning applications were decided, a decrease of over 1 per cent from the previous financial year.

Four in every five (81 per cent) enforcement cases were concluded within 39 weeks in 2018/19. This is 11 percentage points higher than the statutory target of 70 per cent and four percentage points higher than the rate for the previous financial year. Individually, however, nine of the 11 councils met the target in 2018/19.

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