Bord Pleanála missed over half decision deadlines in 2018

Planning authority met 18-week statutory deadline 43 per cent of the time that year

An Bord Pleanála missed its decision deadline on more than half the planning appeals it decided last year, the Public Accounts Committee will hear today.

An Bord Pleanála will tell the committee t it only met its 18-week statutory deadline for deciding normal planning appeals 43 per cent of the time in 2018, which “is not where we want to be”.

Dave Walsh, chairman, will say the board's capacity to hit its targets "has been impacted by the transition to our new case management system, the increased caseload as well as the fall-out from reduced board capacity in 2017".

The board, however, has made “strong progress to turn things around in recent months,” he will tell the PAC.

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Last year, there was an increase of almost one-third in the number of decisions made on 2017.

The planning authority aims to clear its backlog and achieve an improved compliance rate with its 18-week deadline of between 70 and 80 per cent by the end of 2019. Mr Walsh will say in his opening statement that average decision times have fallen to 19.5 weeks, from 22.5 weeks in 2018.

“For the last four months, we have averaged 78 per cent compliance, but we know that more work is needed.”

In relation to the State’s fast-track planning system for housing, Strategic Housing Developments, the board has decided 39 cases in 2018, all within the target of 16 weeks. A total of 7,100 housing units and 4,500 student bed-spaces have been consented, “which is a vital contribution to the overall increase in residential activity”.

A further 40 applications have been approved so far this year, accounting for 9,000 homes and more than 3,000 student bed spaces.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a political reporter with The Irish Times