Building in North to outstrip Dublin


CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY in Northern Ireland and in Border counties is set to run significantly ahead of that in Dublin, according to a new analysis of planning applications.

The number of planning applications made to local authorities in Northern Ireland per head of population is twice the number made per capita in Dublin, according to planning data company Link2Plans.

Its first all-island housing construction index shows that although Dublin has just under 20 per cent of the island’s population, just under 12 per cent of planning application were made in the county in the first six months of this year. This is the equivalent of one application for every 1,043 people.

In comparison, 28.3 per cent of Ireland’s population live in Northern Ireland but the region accounts for 32.59 per cent of planning applications made, equivalent to one application for every 540 people.

Dublin’s prospective levels of construction activity appear even lower when compared with Border counties.

Despite having some of the worst problems with vacant and abandoned housing, Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal collectively account for 7.87 per cent of planning permission sought, although these counties account for just 4.6 per cent of the population.

This gives these counties a rate of applications of 364 per head of population.

While this figure appears high, given the glut of housing on hand in these counties, a proportion of these applications could relate to permission sought to complete houses in unfinished estates or to undertake work to make dangerous estates safe.

In the Republic the number of planning applications made to local authorities in the first six months of the year was down by almost one-fifth on the first six months in 2011.

Just 6,934 applications were made to the end of June this year, compared with 8,522 in the same period last year.

Sligo, Donegal and Leitrim were the only counties to see an increase in applications, up 5 per cent, 7 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

Sligo and Leitrim have similar problems with unfinished estates as Donegal and the other Border counties.

Dublin’s commuter counties and local authorities in the west have seen some of the biggest drops in planning applications. The number of planning applications made to Kildare County Council fell by 41 per cent in the first six months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011.

In Kerry, applications were down 38 per cent; in Clare they were down 35 per cent; and in Mayo they were down 31 per cent.

On the east coast the counties to the north of Dublin saw a similar drop in applications, down 31 per cent in Louth and 30 per cent in Meath.

In Dublin itself there was a drop of 16 per cent in the number of applications in the first six months of the year, while the average reduction nationally was 19 per cent.