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Antrim and Newtownabbey recorded the highest proportion of decisions made within target on planning applications for major development amongst all Northern Ireland Councils, figures recently published show.

The Council determined almost 80% of significant schemes across the Borough in under 7 months against a Northern Ireland average of 28%

Statistics released by the Department for Infrastructure show that Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council met all the statutory performance targets for planning in 2018/19 – one of only three Councils to achieve such success.

The figures were included in the Department for Infrastructure’s Annual Statistical Bulletin for 2018/19.

Welcoming the results, Alderman Philip Brett, Chair of the Council’s Planning Committee said: “Congratulations to the Members of the Committee and Council Officers, who continue to set the standard when it comes to planning. Working collaboratively, we have excelled in terms of local government planning reform and are consistently delivering improvements to the planning process.

“Antrim and Newtownabbey has the lowest proportion of applications over a year old and is leading the way in turnaround time for planning applications across Northern Ireland, with a particular emphasis on the speedy processing of significant major investment proposals.”

Amongst the major investment schemes successfully delivered on time during the year were the new Lidl supermarket in Antrim, the redevelopment of Coleman’s Garden Centre in Templepatrick and the proposed Omniplex cinema at the Abbeycentre and the new Premier Inn at Belfast International Airport. It is estimated that these schemes alone will deliver over £20 million of investment into the Borough.

Alderman Brett continued: “The speedy processing of these significant applications has boosted the economic performance of the Borough and is helping to deliver not only construction jobs, but much needed full-time employment in the Borough.

“As a Council, we are passionate about delivering development that meets our economic and social needs without compromising the quality of our environment.

“We have a unique offering for investment with excellent communications links, a strong portfolio of employment sites and access to high speed digital communications. Combined with our speedy and efficient delivery through the planning process this highlights our attraction for new businesses.

“Ultimately we are a place of economic opportunity, a key feature that is recognised as a core element of our forthcoming draft Plan Strategy which I am delighted to announce will be published next Friday 28 June .”

In conclusion, Alderman Brett advised “When planning powers transferred to Councils in 2015 the Planning Committee’s aim was to ensure that Antrim and Newtownabbey would have an efficient planning process that promotes positive development. Our results to date show that we are delivering for business and our citizens.”