Top marks for planning system

Planning decisions by Mid and East Antrim Council are made in less time than any other area of Northern Ireland, latest figures show.

The average application takes just 9.4 weeks to complete in Mid and East Antrim, compared to a regional average of 16.8 weeks.

Statistics released by the Department for Infrastructure show Mid and East Antrim to have the shortest turnaround time for local applications out of all 11 local authorities, with Antrim and Newtownabbey listed as the second most efficient at 12.8 weeks.In total, three of the 11 councils were within the 15-week statutory target during this timeframe.

Welcoming the statistics, Council’s Planning Committee Chair, Ald. Audrey Wales, said: “An efficient planning system is crucial to delivering on Council’s number one strategic priority of growing the economy.

Members of Council's Planning Committee at the Braid.

“We are living in uncertain times and an efficient planning process is vital in assisting economic recovery delivering not only construction jobs, but also much needed full-time employment across the Borough.

“As a Council, we are passionate about sustaining, protecting and enhancing our natural environment, safeguarding our built heritage, supporting our retail sector and promoting economic growth and addressing our housing needs. We want to provide the best possible conditions for businesses to flourish and a strong planning system is at the heart of those plans.

“I would like to congratulate our planning committee and Council officers, who continue to set the standard when it comes to planning. They have excelled in terms of local government planning reform, and are consistently delivering efficiency improvements to the applications process that allows for decisions to be made in a timely manner.”