Improvements in planning processing times
Published on Thu, 27 Sep 2012 by firstname.lastname@example.org.
Figures published today in the latest Quarterly Development Management Bulletin reveal that DOE Planning have seen some improvement in performance compared with the same time last year.In the first quarter of 2012/13, Planning processed major applications in an average of 26 weeks compared with an average of 28 weeks for the same time last year.
Intermediate applications were processed in an average of 21 weeks, slightly better than the average of 22 weeks last year. For minor applications the average processing time was 12 weeks, an improvement on the 13 weeks it took for the same period last year. Comparison of actual performance with the new 2012/13 targets will be made at the end of the current financial year.
Against a backdrop of improved performance, the number of planning applications has continued to fall, with 3,233 being submitted in quarter 1 2012/13, down 17% compared to this time last year. However, the approval rate for decisions has shown a 2 percentage point increase from 92% in the equivalent quarter last year to 94% in this.
The key points to note in the bulletin are:
1. Applications received
· In the first quarter of 2012/13 DOE Planning received 3,233 planning applications. This is a decrease of 17% compared with the equivalent quarter in 2011/12. Applications for full planning permission make up 78% of applications received so it is not surprising that it is this type of application which has seen the sharpest fall. They have dropped from 3,164 full applications in the first quarter of 2011/12 to 2,518 in quarter one of 2012/13 (down by exactly a fifth). Applications for residential development have also continued to fall, down by exactly a quarter from 2,301 in quarter 1 2011/12 to 1,719 in quarter 1 2012/13
2. Applications decided
· DOE Planning issued decisions on 3,437 applications in the first quarter of 2012/13, down slightly (less than 2%) for the same quarter last year (3,490).
· The number of decisions issued for full planning permission was 2,761. This makes up the bulk of the type of planning application against which a decision was issue (80% of all decisions issued).
3. Applications approved
· Overall, 94% of decisions issued for planning applications in quarter 1 2012/13 were approved. This is two percentage points higher than the same period last year (92%).
4. Applications received for residential development
· The majority of applications received by the Department are still for residential development, accounting for over half (53%) of all applications received in quarter 1 of 2012/13.
· In urban areas, the number of residential applications fell from 909 to 676 (26%) and in rural areas the number fell from 1,392 to 1,043 (25%). Rural applications made up three fifths (61%) of residential applications.
5. Applications decided for residential development
· In urban areas, the number of residential decisions issued fell slightly from 859 to 832 (3%), whereas in rural areas the number fell from 1,490 to 1,176 (21%). This may be an anomaly for this quarter (the Annual Bulletin 2011/12 showed decreases of 26% and 20% for urban and rural respectively).
6. Renewable energy applications
· Renewable energy applications include wind turbines, wind farms, solar panels, biomass burners, hydroelectric schemes etc. The vast majority of renewable energy applications received in quarter 1 2012/13 was for single wind turbines (170 out of 216 renewable energy applications received or 82%).
· The number of decisions issued against renewable energy applications almost doubled from 73 in the first quarter of 2011/12 to 135 in the first quarter of 2012/13. Over four-fifths (86%) of renewable energy applications were approved.
7. Results for Key Performance Targets
· DOE Planning have a key commitment under the Programme for Government to ensure that 90% of large scale investment planning decisions are made within 6 months and applications with job creation potential are given additional weight. This is a new target and only applies to headquarter applications received on or after the 1 April 2012. In the first quarter of 2012/13, DOE Planning received 34 such applications. None of these had reached a decision, been withdrawn or referred to the Minister for a decision by the end of June 2012. However this is not surprising given the complexity of headquarter applications and the fact that the majority of applications received were less than two months old at the end of the reporting period.
· There are three separate annual targets depending on applications type. These have been revised for this year. The processing target for Major planning applications (predominantly housing developments, commercial and retail development) is to process to decision or withdrawal in an average of 23 weeks. In quarter 1 2012/13, the average processing time for major applications was 26 weeks compared with 28 weeks in quarter 1 in 2011/12.
· The processing target for Intermediate planning applications (predominantly single houses) is to process to decision or withdrawal in an average of 20 weeks. In quarter 1 2012/13, the average processing time for intermediate applications was 21 weeks compared with 22 weeks in quarter 1 in 2011/12.
· The processing target for Minor planning applications (predominantly alterations and extensions to houses) is to process to decision or withdrawal in an average of 14 weeks. In quarter 1 2012/13, the average processing time for minor applications was 12 weeks compared with 13 weeks in quarter 1 in 2011/12.
Results for operational targets
· There are two annual targets for the validation of a planning application. The first is to validate 85% of applications within 6 days and the second is to validate 95% of applications within 10 days. In quarter 1 2012/13, 94% of planning applications were validated within 6 days and 98% were validated within 10 days.
· There are a further two annual targets for the time taken to issue a decision after last Council consultation. The first is to issue 85% of decisions within two weeks and the second is to issue 95% of decisions within four weeks. In quarter 1 2012/13, 84% of decisions were issued within two weeks of last Council consultation and 92% were issued within four weeks of last Council consultation.
· There are two key annual targets for enforcement activity. The first is for 95% of high priority cases to be discussed and certified within two working weeks. In quarter 1 2012/13 47% of high priority cases were discussed and certified within two weeks. The second is to process to a conclusion 70% of enforcement cases within 39 weeks. In quarter 1 2012/13 64% of enforcement cases were brought to a conclusion within this time period.
Notes to editors:
1. This is the latest in a series of Quarterly Development Management Statistics Bulletin.
2. There are ten performance targets covered in the report, covering Planning performance in relation to the processing of planning applications and enforcement activity. A number of new targets were introduced for the 2012/13v year.
3. Following a review of the type of application which should be reported on for the purposes of this report, Certificates of Lawful Use or Development (CLUDs), either proposed or existing, are no longer included. This is because applications for such certificates are not actual planning applications. They have also been removed from last year’s quarter 1 figures to preserve comparability.
4. Planning is organised into five area offices and a Headquarters, details of which are available in appendix 4 of the bulletin.
5. The records of all applications from 1 April 2012 to 30 June 2012 were transferred in September 2012 from a live database and inspected for consistency in coding before figures were finalised for publication.
6. The ‘Planning Service Development Management Statistical Bulletin’ is available at http://www.planningni.gov.uk/common-eplanning-stats-publications.htm Hard copies are available free of charge from: Department of the Environment, Millennium House, 17 - 25 Great Victoria Street, Malone Lower, Belfast BT2 7BN
Telephone: (028) 9041 6700 E-mail: email@example.com Website: http://www.planningni.gov.uk
Further breakdowns of the figures presented in the bulletin are also available on request.
7. All media enquiries should be directed to DOE Press Office 028 9025 6058 or for out of office hours, contact the duty press officer on pager 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.