Missed targets despite planning decline – Limavady worst hit
DESPITE a major decline in the number of planning applications across Northern Ireland, with the decline in Limavady most stark, the Department of the Environment (DoE) has failed to meet its own targets for processing applications.
The Minister responsible for the DoE, who handle all applications for planning permission in Northern Ireland, has been asked to explain why his Department failed to meet its own targets for dealing with “all major, intermediate and minor applications”, despite the major decline in the overall number of applications.
The Sentinel recently revealed that the decline in the number of planning applications was most stark in the Limavady Borough Council area over the course of the past year.
Out of all 26 local council areas in Northern Ireland, the largest decrease has been witnessed locally with over a third fewer plans submitted this year when compared to last year.
Figures published last month in the ‘Annual Development Management Bulletin’ reveal that the number of planning applications submitted across Northern Ireland has halved in five years, falling from just over 27,000 in 2006/07 to around 13,500 this year.
In comparison with last year, commercial applications are down throughout Northern Ireland by as much as 55 per cent while residential applications are down by almost a third.
Chairman of the Planning Services Committee at Limavady Borough Council, Dermot Nicholl, has decried the lack of plans being submitted as a worrying sign for those employed in the construction industry.
The Environment Minister has been forced to explain why his department has not been able to meet its own targets despite the decline in the number of applications, in response to questioning from DUP MLA Brenda Hale.
He pointed to the “redeployment” of staff and resources, the introduction of a new online resource and a backlog in the system as reasons why his department have not met their own targets. He added that despite the steep decline in the number of planning applications, which has been most severe in Limavady in the past year, a higher proportion were being passed. Mr Attwood said: “Whilst annual statistics for 2011/12 show a decline in the number of planning applications submitted, nine out of ten applications are approved and these high approval rates will contribute positively to the growth of the economy.”
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Weather for Londonderry
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 12 C to 16 C
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