Provisional planning statistics for the first 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
The key points from the Northern Ireland Planning Statistics: First Quarter 2020/21 Statistical Bulletin are:
- Planning activity and processing performance during Q1 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 2,323 planning applications received during the first quarter of 2020/21; a decrease of almost one-fifth on the previous quarter and almost one-third on the same period a year earlier. This comprised 2,298 local, 24 major and one regionally significant application.
- In the first quarter of 2020/21, 1,805 planning applications were decided upon; a decrease of 28% from the previous quarter and 40% from the same period a year earlier. Decisions were issued on 1,784 local and 21 major applications during the first three months of 2020/21.
- The average processing time for local applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during the first three months of 2020/21 was 17.4 weeks across all councils. This exceeds the 15 week target and represented an increase of 3.6 weeks from the same period a year earlier. Three of the 11 councils were within the 15 week target after the first quarter of 2020/21.
- The average processing time for major applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during the first quarter of 2020/21 was 54.8 weeks across all councils. This represents an improvement of one week compared with the same period a year earlier, but is still considerably higher than the 30 week target.
- Across councils, just over three-fifths (60.3%) of enforcement cases were concluded within 39 weeks during the first three months of 2020/21. This represents a considerable decrease from the rate reported for the first three months of 2019/20 (81.2%) and falls outside the statutory target. Individually, seven of the 11 councils were within the 39 week target at the end of the first quarter of 2020/21.
Notes to editors:
- 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 first quarter of 2020/21 (1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020).
- 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 to 30 June 2020 were transferred in July 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.
- 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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