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Significant improvement in An Bord Pleanála casework handling

Words: Roger Milne

An Bord Pleanála’s end-of-year summary of casework statistics for 2019, just published, has highlighted a significant improvement in performance.

Despite an increase in casework of 7 per cent and 4 per cent more cases determined, over two-thirds of normal planning appeals (69 per cent) were disposed of within the 18-week statutory objective period compared with a 39 per cent compliance in 2018.

Now the body has cleared the significant backlog of cases that arose during 2018, the average number of weeks to decide normal appeal cases was 18.4 weeks in 2019, down from the 2018 average of 22.4 weeks, and just marginally over the target of 18 weeks.

By the end of December 2019, 168 valid applications for strategic housing developments had been received by An Bord Pleanála, with 118 of those being received during 2019 (a tripling of application intake over 2018).

A total of 82 valid applications were decided in 2019, with permission refused for 15 cases and permission granted in 67 cases for a total of 16,771 residential units (4,327 houses and 12,444 flats), 200 shared accommodation bed spaces and 4,331 student bed spaces. The mandatory timeline of 16 weeks (or 24 weeks for cases where an oral hearing is held) was met for all decisions issued.

Dave Walsh, An Bord Pleanála chairperson, welcomed the end-year results. “Taking account of the concerted efforts by An Bord Pleanála staff and board members to clear the case backlog in late 2018 and early 2019, reaching 69 per cent compliance for the year was a phenomenal performance and demonstrates the commitment, capacity and expertise across the entire organisation to be able to return to acceptable compliance levels.

“The challenge now is to maintain this strong performance, while also exploring how we can further streamline processes and improve our communication and interaction with everyone who engages with us.”

Image credit | iStock