Provisional planning statistics for the first quarter of 2023/24 are now available.
These data provide an overall view of planning activity. Alongside this there is a summary of council performance across two of the statutory targets, for major development applications and local development applications as laid out in the Local Government (Performance Indicators and Standards) Order (Northern Ireland) 2015, along with other statistics of interest such as application approval rates.
The publication is available on the Department for Infrastructure website.
The key points from the Northern Ireland Planning Statistics: First Quarter 2023/24 Statistical Bulletin are:
- There were 2,618 planning applications received during the first quarter of 2023/24; a decrease of almost eight percent on the previous quarter and down by over fourteen percent on the same period a year earlier. This comprised of 2,585 local and 33 major applications.
- In the first quarter of 2023/24, 2,634 planning applications were decided upon; up by over eight percent from the previous quarter but down by nearly seventeen percent from the same period a year earlier. Decisions were issued on 2,598 local and 36 major applications during the most recent quarter.
- The average processing time for local applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during the first three months of 2023/24 was 18.9 weeks across all councils. This exceeds the 15 week target and represents an increase of 2.3 weeks from the same period a year earlier. Three of the 11 councils were within the 15 week target after the first three months of 2023/24.
- The average processing time for major applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during the first three months of 2023/24 was 59.6 weeks across all councils. This represents an increase of 8.2 weeks compared with the same period a year earlier and is almost double the 30 week target.
- The number of enforcement cases concluded and corresponding processing times are not presented in this report. This information will be published later and users will be notified when available.
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 2023/24 (1 April 2023 – 30 June 2023).
- 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 two legislative performance targets covered in the report related to the processing of local development decisions within an average of 15 weeks; and major development decisions within an average of 30 weeks.
The full suite of enforcement data is not yet available from the planning portal. It is therefore not possible to report against the third legislative performance target - processing 70% of enforcement cases to target conclusion within 39 weeks. This information will be published when the full suite of enforcement data becomes available.
- The final records of all applications from 1 April 2023 – 30 June 2023 were transferred in September 2023 from live databases 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 environments. Finalised annual figures for 2023/24 will be released in July 2024.
Quarterly data are provided in more detailed accompanying data tables together with comparable data from the previous financial year, where possible.
- Following an independent assessment by the UK Statistics Authority, the NI Planning Statistics 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 data tables and summary infographic are available free of charge from the Department for Infrastructure website.
- This is a National Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Statistics.
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