Belfast Telegraph

One in three planning application rejections overturned

By John Mulgrew

More than one third of planning applications rejected by planning authorities have been overturned and given the green light on appeal in the past year, 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, according to a new report.

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That included 278 decisions, with 27 appeals being withdrawn or declared invalid.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 Planning Appeals Commission also issued 35 costs decisions, with costs 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".

She said: "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.

"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," added the chief commissioner.

The report also stated that the last year "has not been reflective of the normal workload due to the political situation".

It states: "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."

Belfast Telegraph