Provisional planning statistics for the third 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
The key points from the Northern Ireland Planning Statistics: Third Quarter 2020/21 Statistical Bulletin are:
- Planning activity and processing performance during the first three 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 3,602 planning applications received during the third quarter of 2020/21; an increase of one-tenth on the previous quarter and one-fifth on the same period a year earlier. This comprised 3,574 local and 28 major applications.
- In the third quarter of 2020/21, 2,992 planning applications were decided upon; up almost one-quarter from Q2 2020/21 but down 2% from the same period a year earlier. Decisions were issued on 2,959 local, 32 major and one regionally significant application during the most recent quarter.
- The average processing time for local applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during the first nine months of 2020/21 was 17.8 weeks across all councils. This exceeds the 15 week target and represents an increase of 3.8 weeks from the same period a year earlier. Three of the 11 councils were within the 15 week target after the first three quarters of 2020/21.
- The average processing time for major applications brought to a decision or withdrawal during the first nine months of 2020/21 was 61.8 weeks across all councils. This represents an increase of 7.3 weeks compared with the same period a year earlier and is more than double the 30 week target.
- Across councils 69.2% of enforcement cases were concluded within 39 weeks during the first nine 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 (81.9%). Individually, seven of the 11 councils were within target after the first three quarters of 2020/21.
Notes to editors:
Background to Northern Ireland Planning Statistics: Third 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 third quarter of 2020/21 (1 October 2020 – 31 December 2020). Year-to-date processing performance for the full nine month period (1 April 2020 – 31 December 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 – 31 December 2020 were transferred in January 2021 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 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 Excel tables and summary infographic are available free of charge from: Planning Activity Statistics
This is a National 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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