Antrim and Newtownabbey recorded the highest proportion of decisions made within target on planning applications for local development amongst all Northern Ireland Councils, figures published today show.
Statistics released by the Department for Infrastructure show that Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council met all the statutory performance targets for planning in 2019/20 – one of only two Councils to achieve such success and the second year running that the Council has met the targets laid down by the NI Assembly.
The Council determined over 80% of local development schemes across the Borough in under 15 weeks against a Northern Ireland average of 54%.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Council ranked first in dealing with planning enforcement cases and also maintained its strong performance on major planning applications ranking second amongst all Councils in processing times for large scale and significant development proposals.
Welcoming the success, Alderman Phillip Brett, Chair of the Council’s Planning Committee said,
“The Council’s number one strategic priority is growing the economy, and good planning helps us fulfil this ambition without compromising the quality of our environment. We are fortunate to be a place of economic opportunity, a key feature that is recognised in our draft Plan Strategy published in 2019. Excellent communications links, a strong portfolio of employment sites and access to high speed digital communications attracts investors to our Borough, but a speedy and efficient planning process is also an important factor. During the current uncertain times efficient planning assists economic recovery delivering not only construction jobs, but much needed full-time employment across the Borough."
Amongst the major investment applications successfully delivered on time during the year were a distribution and logistics depot on the Doagh Road, Newtownabbey as well several commercial schemes forming part of ongoing development proposals at the Junction in Antrim and at the Abbeycentre, including the recently approved Airtastic facility proposed for the vacant Toys R Us premises. New tourist accommodation was also given the green light at both the Ramble Inn and the Five Corners Guest Inn. It is estimated that these schemes alone will deliver some £10 million of investment into the Borough. In addition, several significant housing schemes were approved this year, including proposals at New Mossley and Rathfern that will greatly assist in meeting social housing needs in these areas.
Alderman Brett said,
“I congratulate both the Members of the Committee and our hard working staff, who continue to set the standard when it comes to planning performance. Working collaboratively, we have excelled in delivering positive planning outcomes and we continue to bring forward improvements to the planning process.”