Number of planning applications falling

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Planning applications are more likely to be approved west of the Bann, according to statistics published by the NI Planning office.

Rates of planning approvals over 2017/18 ranged from highs of 97.8% in Mid Ulster, 97% in Derry City and Strabane to a low of 88.2% in Newry, Mourne and Down.

Four councils reported an increased approval rate over the year, the largest increases were in Derry City and Strabane and Causeway Coast and Glens with approval rates increasing by 3.9 percentage points (pp) and 1.3pp respectively.

Approvals rates were down most notably were in Belfast City (-2.8pp) and Lisburn and Castlereagh and Mid and East Antrim which both had a 1.4pp decrease.

In 2017/18, Belfast City (1,808) received the most planning applications, followed by Newry, Mourne and Down (1,570), Mid Ulster (1,415) and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon (1,331); between them accounting for nearly half (47.4%) of all applications across NI. The councils receiving the least applications were Antrim and Newtownabbey (730), Derry City and Strabane (866) and Mid and East Antrim (891).

The number of planning applications received over the past year has gone down. Of the 12,933 planning applications there were 12,770 local, 161 major and 2 regionally significant development applications. The number of decisions made has also gone down, by five percent. It has taken on average almost a year to process major applications across all councils.

Four of the 11 councils received more local applications compared to the previous year with Belfast City (1,788), Newry, Mourne and Down (1,562) and Mid Ulster (1,397) receiving most.

The shortest average processing time for local applications was less than 10 weeks in Mid and East Antrim, whilst the longest was nearly 22 weeks in Lisburn and Castlereagh. In all, five of the 11 councils achieved the 15 week target.