The performance of Mid Ulster District Council’s new planning service has been described as ‘sound’ by Chair of the Planning Committee.
Speaking after official figures were released detailing processing times and volume of work undertaken in the first 3 months from 1 April when planning transferred to the 11 new councils, Councillor Martin Kearney, said:
“Mid Ulster received 334 planning applications in its first 3 months, the 3rd highest number of any of the councils and highest number when considered by head of population. We were also 3rd in terms of our processing times for local applications.
“Given that we faced some very challenging circumstances, including establishing a completely new office and creating a team drawn from across Northern Ireland, I believe our performance has been sound”.
Commenting on the wider context of the transfer of the service, Councillor Kearney, said:
“As well as the challenges of creating and managing a new service, we did so without adequate resources also transferring from central government, so, in essence, we are doing more with less.
“When you consider that we also inherited a backlog of difficult major applications from the Department of the Environment and that we are an area which receives a substantial number of complex applications for wind farms, quarries and anaerobic digesters, the staff are carrying a substantial workload. And yet we still issued more decisions on major applications than any other council.
“Planning staff have done an excellent job, embracing their new posts in the council and their new roles as members of the council staff and I would like to thank them for their work to date”.
The statistics relating to all 11 councils are available to view on line by clicking here.