Belfast Telegraph

Increase in Northern Ireland planning applications a sign economy is on the up

By Jamie Stinson

The number of planning applications being submitted in Northern Ireland has increased 14% year-on-year, according to latest figures.

The Department of Environment (DoE) claimed 93% of planning applications were approved in the third quarter of 2014, down from 94% on last year.

It received 3,305 applications between July and September last year, up from 2,893 during the period in 2013. There were 1,800 residential applications in the third quarter of 2014, an increase of 15% on the previous year.

The DoE said the rise in the number of residential applications was a sign the economy was improving.

"Planning applications in general, and residential applications in particular, are sensitive to fluctuations in the economy, and these latest increases are linked to continuing improvements on this front.

"This is the third consecutive quarterly rise this financial year, following a 20% increase in quarter one, and a 13% increase in quarter two, highlighting the sensitivity of this type of application to improvements in the economy."

Both rural and urban residential applications rose, with urban areas seeing a 21% increase year-on-year while rural areas saw an 11% uplift.

Urban areas received a higher level of approval - 98% - compared to rural areas.

The number of single wind turbines receiving planning permission fell, with only 73% of the 123 applications being given approval compared to 89% a year earlier.

The department is still well behind its new target of 400 live enforcement cases by this month, which are older than two years.

Belfast Telegraph

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