Planning Portal

Planning maintains improved performance

Published on Tue, 15 Jan 2013 by ecomms@doeni.gov.uk.
Figures published today in the latest Quarterly Development Management Bulletin reveal that DOE Planning has seen improvements in performance, for the second successive quarter, compared with the same period last year.
In the second quarter of 2012/13, Planning processed major applications in an average of 29 weeks, the same for quarter two last year. Intermediate applications were processed in an average of 18 weeks, better than the average of 20 weeks last year. For minor applications the average processing time was 12 weeks, an improvement on the 15 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 2,928 being submitted in quarter two 2012/13, down 6% compared to this time last year. The approval rate for decisions has shown a one percentage point increase from 92% in the equivalent quarter last year to 93% in this.

The key points to note in the bulletin are:

1. Applications received

· In the second quarter of 2012/13 DOE Planning received 2,928 planning applications. This is a decrease of 6% compared with the equivalent quarter in 2011/12.Applications for full planning permission make up 77% 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 2,441 full applications in the second quarter of 2011/12 to 2,259 in quarter two of 2012/13 (down by 7%). Applications for residential development have continued to fall, down by 16% from 1,825 in quarter two of 2011/12 to 1,528 in quarter two of 2012/13

2. Applications decided

· DOE Planning issued decisions on 3,382 applications in the second quarter of 2012/13, down by 7% for the same quarter last year (3,646).
· The number of decisions issued for full planning permission was 2,653. This makes up the bulk of the type of planning application against which a decision was issue (78% of all decisions issued).

3. Applications approved

· Overall, 93% of decisions issued for planning applications in quarter two of 2012/13 were approved. This is one percentage point 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 (52%) of all applications received in quarter two of 2012/13.
· In urban areas, the number of residential applications fell from 738 to 587 (20%) and in rural areas the number fell from 1,087 to 941 (13%). Rural applications made up over three fifths (62%) of residential applications.

5. Applications decided for residential development

· In both urban and rural areas, the number of residential decisions issued fell by a fifth (20%), from 935 to 749 and from 1,360 to 1,087 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 two of 2012/13 were for single wind turbines (138 out of 184 renewable energy applications received or 75%).
· The number of decisions issued against renewable energy applications doubled from 88 in the second quarter of 2011/12 to 177 in the second quarter of 2012/13. Over nine tenths (92%) of renewable energy applications were approved.

7. Enforcement Statistics

· In quarter two of 2012/13 there were 696 enforcement cases opened and 874 enforcement cases closed.
· The main reason for an enforcement case being closed was because no breach had actually occurred (260, or 30% of closed cases).

8. Results for Key Performance Targets

· DOE Planning has a key commitment under the Programme for Government to ensure that 90% of large scale investment planning decisions are made within six months and applications with job creation potential are given additional weight. This is a new target however the monitoring methodology is currently under review. As such it is not reported on for this quarter. It will be reinstated for the quarter three publication.

· There are three separate annual targets depending on application type. These have been revised for this year. The annual 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 two of 2012/13, the average processing time for major applications was 29 weeks, the same as in quarter two of 2011/12.

· The annual processing target for Intermediate planning applications (predominantly single houses) is to process to decision or withdrawal in an average of 20 weeks. In quarter two of  2012/13, the average processing time for intermediate applications was 18 weeks compared with 20 weeks in quarter two in 2011/12.

· The annual 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 two of 2012/13, the average processing time for minor applications was 12 weeks compared with 15 weeks in quarter two 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 six days and the second is to validate 95% of applications within ten days. In quarter two of 2012/13, 94% of planning applications were validated within six days and 98% were validated within ten 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 two of 2012/13, 85% 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 two of 2012/13 75% 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 two of 2012/13 65% 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 2012/13 year.

3. A new table (table 8) has been added to the publication. This provides detail of enforcement activity for the quarter and is in response to an identified user need.

4. 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 two figures to preserve comparability.

5. Planning is organised into five area offices and a Headquarters, details of which are available in appendix 4 of the bulletin.

6. The records of all applications from 1 July 2012 to 30 September 2012 were transferred in December 2012 from a live database and inspected for consistency in coding before figures were finalised for publication.

7. The ‘Planning Service Development Management Statistical Bulletin’ is available at www.planningni.gov.uk/common-stats-publications.htm Hard copies are available free of charge from:

Department of the Environment, Analytical Services Branch, Department of the Environment, Room 4-03, Clarence Court, Belfast, BT2 8GB

Telephone: (028) 9054 0223 E-mail: stats.planning@doeni.gov.uk Website: http://www.planningni.gov.uk

Further breakdowns of the figures presented in the bulletin are also available on request.

8. All media enquiries should be directed to the DOE Press Office on 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.
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