30,000 planning decisions made 2006/07
Published on Fri, 25 Apr 2008
Decisions on almost 30,000 planning applications were made in 2006/07, according to statistics released today by the Department of the Environment.
Commenting on the Planning Service’s first annual statistics report, the Environment Minister, Arlene Foster said that Planning Service processed and issued almost 30,000 decisions, including 3,000 applications carried forward from previous years.
The report provides a range of statistical information on the 26,145 applications received and the 29,077 applications decided and issued. It also provides information on the time taken to process planning applications in 2006/07.
In recognising the significant volume of applications decided during the period, the Minister acknowledged that processing time targets for 2006/07 had been missed. She said: “The report highlights some of the areas on which we know that we need to focus improvement. My announcement in November 2007 set out my intention to modernise and reform the planning system and included the need for streamlined planning processes that are effective, efficient and which improve the predictability and quality of the service delivered.”
The Minister said that work on developing proposals for consultation on planning reform is underway. In addition, a number of short-term measures have already been introduced by the Planning Service to bring about early improvements. She said: “The Northern Ireland economy is already benefiting from these measures which include the priority processing of major planning applications such as the Titanic Quarter, Belfast Metropolitan College and Graham of Dromore through the new Strategic Projects Unit.
“The Planning Service has also put in place a number of other initiatives and pilots throughout the last year to improve service delivery, including greater use of pre-application discussions, deploying a divisional support team, and a new streamlined council consultation process.
“These measures are now starting to have a positive effect, and bring about the improvements we all want to see in the planning system.”
Concluding, the Minister said: “This statistical report highlights further my Department’s commitment to openness and transparency of the planning system.
“Significant effort has gone into producing official planning statistics in a way which complies with the standards for reporting national government statistics. I am grateful to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency for their collaboration with the Planning Service to produce the report.”