12 ‘commercial projects’ still awaiting a decision
THERE are a dozen commercial projects on hold in the Limavady Borough because they are still awaiting a decision from the planning service.
BY NIALL DEENEY
Across Northern Ireland, a remarkable 499 commercial projects have also been put on hold because they are still awaiting a decision from the planning service.
The figures were requested by local MLA John Dallat, who asked the Environment Minister: “to detail the number of commercial projects in each planning district that are currently on hold because of planning irregularities; and what steps are being taken to resolve these issues?”
Alex Attwood replied: “The Department does not hold the processing of any planning application as they are validated on receipt and progressed through the various statutory processes as quickly as possible.
“Applications do, however, differ in complexity and in quality of submission and attract varying levels of objection. Consultation with a number of statutory and non-statutory bodies is often required to inform the decision making process, and assessment of all material planning considerations can result in amendments being made to submitted plans.
“All of these issues may prolong the processing of an application. A project management approach is used by case officers and line managers in accordance with the Good Practice Guide which was published in June 2009. Instructions and guidance have also been issued to staff about prioritising applications which have economic and social benefits for the local community.”
He continued: “In order to improve and monitor performance across the Area Offices Area Planning Managers report monthly on how each area office is performing against the ambitious targets that I have set for 2012-13 for processing of planning applications.
“A Performance Action Plan has also been put in place in order to improve and manage performance. This action plan identifies a number of initiatives and allows for the monitoring and active management of performance within agreed timescales.
“As a result of these initiatives I am pleased to report that performance in Q2 of this business year
has improved when compared to the same period last year, with the targets for intermediate and minor applications exceeded.
“I will continue to work with key stakeholders to ensure that Planning delivers in an efficient and timely manner and continue to monitor performance to ensure consistency across the area office network.”
In the Derry City Council area there are 58 commercial projects currently on hold because they are still awaiting a decision from the planning service – the highest number in Northern Ireland after Belfast.
In Belfast, the figure stands at 95, while in Coleraine there are a similar number to Limavady, where 13 commercial projects are still pending a decision.
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