Brett – “ineffective planning system stunting economic growth”

North Belfast DUP MLA Phillip Brett has voiced concerns that the average processing time for regionally significant planning applications between 1 April 2016 to 31 December 2021 was 172.5 weeks, well above the Department for Infrastructure processing target of just 30 weeks.

By Phillip Brett MLA

Belfast North

antrimAndNewtownabbeyBorough

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Mr Brett received this information after questioning the Infrastructure Minister.

Phillip Brett said

"These statistics from the Infrastructure Minister are yet another indicator of an inefficient planning system which, on occasions, is stunting economic growth and discouraging investors from Northern Ireland. For regionally significant planning applications to be breaching Department processing targets by many months and even years in certain cases is unacceptable.

A damning Audit Office report released in February of this year, stated that the overall planning system 'doesn’t deliver for customers, communities or the environment.' The same report highlighted that the system is not currently operating in a joined-up way and is not providing an effective service for all involved.

We cannot afford to have unnecessary delays which could be continually putting proposed investment at risk. The Minister for Infrastructure needs to ensure the entire planning system delivers fairly and that the waiting times for applications of all levels are dealt with in a more efficient manner.

The Audit Office report and subsequent Public Accounts Committee report should act as a warning and wake up call. The Minister must take action to restore confidence in our planning system."

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