Provisional planning statistics for the second quarter of 2020/21 are now available.
These data provide an overall view of planning activity. Alongside this there is a summary of council performance across the three statutory targets for major development applications, local development applications and enforcement cases as laid out in the Local Government (Performance Indicators and Standards) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015.
The publication is available on the Department for Infrastructure website at: Planning activity statistics.
Planning activity and processing performance during the first and second quarters of 2020/21 were impacted by the restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. This should be borne in mind and caution should be taken when interpreting these figures and when making comparisons with other time periods.
There were 3,288 planning applications received during the second quarter of 2020/21; an increase of 42% on the previous quarter and 12% on the same period a year earlier. This comprised 3,255 local and 33 major applications.
In the second quarter of 2020/21, 2,410 planning applications were decided upon; up one-third from the previous quarter but down almost one-quarter from the same period a year earlier. Decisions were issued on 2,375 local and 35 major applications during the second quarter of 2020/21.
The average processing time for local applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during the first six months of 2020/21 was 18.4 weeks across all councils. This exceeds the 15 week target and represented an increase of 4.6 weeks from the same period a year earlier. Three of the 11 councils were within the 15 week target after the first two quarters of 2020/21.
The average processing time for major applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during the first six months of 2020/21 was 70.2 weeks across all councils. This represents an increase of 12.8 weeks compared with the same period a year earlier, and is more than double the 30 week target.
Across councils 68.9% of enforcement cases were concluded within 39 weeks during the first six months of 2020/21. This falls just outside the statutory target of 70% and represents a considerable decrease from the rate reported for the same period in 2019/20 (82.5%). Individually, seven of the 11 councils were within the 39 week target after the first two quarters of 2020/21.
Notes to editors:
Planning activity statistics
Background to Northern Ireland Planning Statistics: Second Quarter 2020/21 Statistical Bulletin.
- This is the latest in a regular series of statistical bulletins related to Development Management (Planning) functions. The Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 sets out the legislative framework for development management and provides that, from 1 April 2015, councils now largely have responsibility for this planning function. This statistical bulletin reports on activity and performance for the second quarter of 2020/21 (1 July 2020 – 30 September 2020). Year-to-date processing performance for the full six month period (1 April 2020 – 30 September 2020) is also provided.
- A new classification hierarchy for planning applications came into effect on 1 April 2014 in advance of the transfer of planning functions to local government from 1 April 2015. The development categories are – major and local development applications, processed primarily by councils, and regionally significant development applications, processed within the Department for Infrastructure. Note that the ‘major development’ category is based on a completely different definition to the previous ‘major’ category so figures relating to this category should not be compared with those from earlier bulletins (i.e. pre-2014/15).
- There are three legislative performance targets covered in the report related to the processing of local development decisions within an average of 15 weeks; major development decisions within an average of 30 weeks; and processing 70% of enforcement cases to target conclusion within 39 weeks.
- The final records of all applications from 1 April 2020 – 30 September 2020 were transferred in November 2020 from a live database and inspected for consistency in coding before figures were prepared for publication. These figures are regarded as ‘provisional’ and will be subject to further scheduled revisions as further updates are made to records in the live database environment. Finalised annual figures for 2020/21 will be released in July 2021. Quarterly data are provided in more detailed accompanying Excel tables together with comparable data from the previous financial year, where possible.
- Following an independent assessment by the UK Statistics Authority, the report received National Statistics accreditation in December 2020, demonstrating that it meets the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and public value.
- Electronic copies of the Bulletin, associated Excel tables and summary infographic are available free of charge from: Planning activity statistics
This is an Official Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Statistics. You can find further information about the Code of Practice at: Statistics Authority
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