Planning Applications Halve 30 July 2012
Planning applications halve in five years
Figures published today in the latest Annual Development Management Bulletin reveal that the number of planning applications being submitted in Northern Ireland has halved in five years, falling from just over 27,000 in 2006/07 to just over 13,500 in 2011/12.
Even when compared with only a year ago, commercial applications are down by as much as 55% while residential applications are down by almost one third (32%).
Planning performance, in terms of application processing times for Major, Intermediate, and Minor applications for 2011/12 were all lower than the levels achieved for last year with none of the targets for these categories having been met. At sub–regional level, the Western area office had the shortest average processing times across all three application category types, whilst Headquarters had the longest average processing time for major applications (though Headquarter applications are more likely to be particularly complex or controversial). Southern area has the longest in respect of intermediate and minor application types.
In 2011/12, Planning received 13,680 planning applications. This is a decrease of 18% compared with 2010/11.The fall in planning applications for residential development was noteworthy for the year, down by a third when compared with last year (32%). Also, commercial developments, which include retail and office developments, have continued to fall sharply. There has been a drop of 55% compared with last year, from 1,280 in 2010/11 applications to 580 in 2011/12.
Planning issued decisions on 14,509 applications in 2011/12, down 10% on the number issued for last year (16,191). · The number of decisions issued for full planning permission was 11,362. This makes up the bulk of the type of planning application against which a decision was issue (78% of all decisions issued). · Planning issued more decisions than applications received. This will be because of planning applications that were in the system prior to the start of the year.
Overall, 92% of decisions issued for planning applications in 2011/12 were approved. This is three percentage points higher than the same period last year (89%).
Applications received for residential development
The number of residential applications received in urban areas fell by over a third (down 1,816 or 36%) when compared with 2010/11, from 4,999 to 3,183. The number of residential applications received in rural areas fell by 28%, from 6,392 to 4,588.
Applications decided for residential development
In terms of the decisions issued for residential development, those in urban areas fell by a quarter (26%), from 4,948 in 2010/11 to 3,645 in 2011/12. Decisions issued for residential development in rural areas fell by a fifth, down 20% from 6,812 to 5,440.
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 2011/12 were for single wind turbines (670 out of 816 renewable energy applications received or 82%). The number of renewable energy applications received overall has increased by 17% from 696 in 2010/11.
The number of decisions issued against renewable energy applications increased from 175 in 2010/11 to 404 in 2011/12. Over four–fifths (83%) of renewable energy applications are approved, ranging from 79% of single wind turbine applications to 100% of hydroelectric and biomass/anaerobic digester applications.
Results for Key Performance Targets
The 2011/12 processing target for Major planning applications (predominantly housing developments, commercial and retail development) is to decide 60% of major applications to decision or withdrawal in 23 weeks. In 2011/12, 38% of major applications were processed in 23 weeks compared with 57% in 2010/11.
The 2011/12 processing target for Intermediate planning applications (predominantly single houses) is to decide 70% of intermediate applications to decision or withdrawal in 31 weeks. In 2011/12, 68% of intermediate applications were processed in 31 weeks compared with 758% in 2010/11.
The 2011/12 processing target for Minor planning applications (predominantly alterations and extensions to houses) is to decide 80% of minor applications to decision or withdrawal in 18 weeks. In 2011/12, 61% of minor applications were processed in 18 weeks compared with 77% in 2010/11.
There are two 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 10 days. In 2011/12, 92% of planning applications were validated within 6 days and 97% were validated within 10 days.
There are a further two 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 2011/12, 78% of decisions were issued within two weeks of last Council consultation and 88% were issued within four weeks of last Council consultation.
A key target in and around enforcement activity is to process to a conclusion 70% of enforcement cases within 39 weeks. In 2011/12 58% of enforcement cases were brought to a conclusion within this time period.