The Head of Planning presented the above report, details of which were previously circulated to Members. The purpose of the report was to provide an update and advise Members that on 1 July 2021 the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) Northern Ireland Planning Statistics – Annual Statistical Bulletin was published and provides an update on Planning Statistics/Targets.
The Deputy Chair congratulated the Head of Planning and her team for the significant amount of work achieved during the previous year despite the added pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Councillor J Boyle commended the Head of Planning and her team on behalf of his party, for an outstanding performance achieved throughout the previous year. He alluded to the technical challenges experienced from staff having to revert to working remotely due to the pandemic. He reflected on the backlog of applications that was inherited by the Planning Section following the amalgamation of Councils in 2015, which was a substantial figure and he was encouraged to note that to date the processing target had been reduced in comparison to previous years.
He continued to acknowledge the time and commitment by Planning Officers in tackling the backlog whilst also processing new applications during the most challenging of years for all staff employed by Derry City and Strabane District Council.
Alderman Hussey concurred with the previous speakers. He added that it was encouraging to note the increased number of planning applications in the system which signified progress in the Council area. He praised the efficient performance by Officers whenever he would contact the Planning Office on behalf of constituents and the efficient and speedy response time was always outstanding.
Alderman Kerrigan also praised the work of the Planning Officers and for the extensive amount of detail provided when applications are presented to Committee. He paid tribute to the Officers for their high level of professionalism shown at Committee meetings despite Members scrutinising their recommendations.
Councillor Jackson echoed the sentiments expressed by previous Members. He commended the work achieved by the Planning section particularly during the current pandemic crisis. He referred specifically to those applications for house adaptations that be processed in a timely manner and expressed his appreciation to the Planning Officers.
Members noted the contents of the above report for information.