Re­fusals are re­versed in one-third of cases: re­port from plan­ners

PAC says it’s faced ‘sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges’ over the last year

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - Front Page - BY JOHN MULGREW

AROUND one-third of re­jected plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions have their de­ci­sion over­turned and get the green light on ap­peal, a new re­port has shown.

The Plan­ning Ap­peals Com­mis­sion (PAC) said it re­ceived 305 ap­peals dur­ing 2016/17.

It said it was deal­ing with the ap­peals amid “sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges hav­ing to op­er­ate within an en­vi­ron­ment of re- duced re­sources and per­son­nel changes”.

This year, it has dealt with some of North­ern Ire­land’s big­gest in­fras­truc­ture ap­peals, in­clud­ing the con­tro­ver­sial North-south In­ter­con­nec­tor elec­tric­ity scheme.

The PAC deals with ap­pli­ca­tions from the very small, to ma­jor plans for en­tire hous­ing or of­fice de­vel­op­ments, which have been turned down by the lo­cal plan­ning au­thor­i­ties.

And the lat­est fig­ures show a marked rise in the num­ber of ap­peals for hous­ing de­vel­op­ments and sin­gle homes across North­ern Ire­land.

The num­ber of sin­gle prop­er­ties and mul­ti­ple home de­vel­op­ment ap­peals brought in 2016/17 in­creased by al­most 14%.

The body, which also in­cludes the Wa­ter Ap­peals Com­mis­sion, dealt with 349 cases with 304 de­ci­sions, and 45 ap­peals be­ing with­drawn or de­clared in­valid.

“The suc­cess rate at ap­peal is cur­rently 28%, a re­duc­tion on the pre­vi­ous year,” it said.

“De­spite hav­ing the long­est me­dian time for de­ci­sion, hear­ings con­tinue to be the main method of pro­cess­ing of ap­peal case work.”

It has also dealt with some of North- ern Ire­land’s big­gest in­fras­truc­ture pro­jects in the last year.

That in­cludes a huge cross-border elec­tric­ity scheme, the North-south In­ter­con­nec­tor. It is due to make a rec­om­men­da­tion later this year.

“There has been a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in me­dian times for de­ci­sions, fall­ing from 29 weeks to 23 weeks,” the PAC stated.

It said its key achieve­ments this year in­cluded a re­duc­tion in the num­ber of cases that had been in the sys­tem for a long pe­riod of time, stream­lin­ing of the al­lo­ca­tions process, and a new case man­age­ment sys­tem.

Its chief com­mis­sioner An­drea Kells com­mented: “These achieve­ments were made in a year where the com­mis­sions have faced sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges hav­ing to op­er­ate within an en­vi­ron­ment of re­duced re­sources and per­son­nel changes.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.