Posted on Thursday 29 August 2019 by John Mulgrew

Planning

More than a third of rejected planning applications have been overturned and given the green light on appeal, new figures show.

A total of 37% of the 323 appeals submitted to the Planning Appeals Commission were successful – up from around 27% a year earlier.

The commission, which also handles a small number of water appeals, received 323 appeals during the financial year to April 2019, an increase on the 309 received last year.

That included 278 decisions, with 27 appeals being withdrawn or declared invalid. The commission also issued 35 costs decisions, with costs were awarded in 15 of the cases.

Writing in the report, Andrea Kells, chief commissioner, said it was a “good news story… given that we have achieved the improvements against the backdrop of reduced resources, it demonstrates the commitment of our teams to delivering on our corporate objectives”.

“We will continue to do the best that we can both as individuals and as a corporate body,” she said. “I hope that the additional resources we expect to be in place shortly will ensure that we at the very least maintain our high standard of service in the future.”

It also says that the last year “has not been reflective of the normal workload due to the political situation”.

“The anticipated referrals of ‘local development plans’ have also not occurred. These factors, combined with the withdrawal of a number of cases which were at an advanced stage, have created difficulties in planning and programming our work.

“We have however continued to try to ensure that resources are made available for this workstream.”

The report adds there has been “a significant improvement in processing times for appeals decided using the informal hearing procedure has been achieved in 2018/19, with the time taken to decide these appeals decreasing by four weeks.

“Improvements have also been achieved in processing the other procedure types and the time taken for these has decreased by two weeks.”

 

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