Change is Needed in Order to Speed Up Planning Process says Committee
Date: 20 February 2012
Reference: ENV 06/11/12
The Northern Ireland Assembly Environment Committee has called for a change in planning processes to improve the speed and efficiency of planning services. The Committee’s recommendation will see planning applications reallocated quicker in the event of staff absences.
The Department of Environment has accepted the Committee's call to reallocate cases quicker if a planning officer is off work. Previously it would have taken two weeks to transfer a case if a member of staff was off sick or on leave. This will now be shortened to one week.
Committee Chairperson, Anna Lo, MLA, is pleased the Committee’s findings have been taken into account: “The Committee has been hearing concerns about planning delays and was keen to look into the issue. Our recommendation to reduce the reallocation time from two weeks to one will have a positive impact on those waiting for planning approval and, at the same time, could make planning services more efficient. In addition, this will have a positive impact on the construction industry allowing developments to start quicker and in turn increase job opportunities.
“The Committee welcomes the Department's decision and we will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the required changes are delivered.”