Planning Regulator’s report highlights disparity in Limerick vacant sites

Planning Regulator Niall Cussen.

LIMERICK City and County Council designated 205 sites as either vacant or derelict in 2021 while figures from the Central Statistics Office put the overall total for the county at 7,752.

That’s according to the latest overview of the planning system by the Planning Regulator which also found that 94 per cent of all planning applications to the Limerick council were granted in 2021, putting it well ahead of the national average of 88.5 per cent.

There were 1,263 planning applications approved and 81 refused by the Limerick local authority in 2021 while 5.2 per cent of its planning application decisions were appealed to An Bord Pleanála and of these, 25.6 per cent were reversed.

The national average rate of appeal in 2021 was 6.7 per cent, while the average reversal rate was 27.7%.

The percentage of invalidated planning applications as a proportion of all applications made in County Limerick increased from 14.8 per cent 2020 to 16.9 per cent in 2021.

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The Planning Regulator’s report reviews key trends and outputs over the year in the wider planning system in Ireland. It includes a comparison with patterns in previous years and is the only analysis of its kind of the Irish planning system.

The report also identifies and makes observations on some of the key trends which reflect Ireland’s and each local authority’s planning performance in 2021.

Planning Regulator, Niall Cussen said that 2021 was a year in which local authorities such as Limerick City and County Council continued to deliver key statutory planning functions within strict timelines and in an operational environment that was challenging due to public health restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid pandemic.

“It is a great credit to the planning process in general that high levels of throughput in handling planning applications and appeals continued despite the pressures,” he explained.

“While core planning functions continue to experience high volumes of activity, more is also being asked of local authorities.

2021 was also a year of very significant activity by local authorities in starting to implement funding streams aimed at securing urban and rural regeneration. However, a critical function to such investment will require concerted action on vacant and derelict buildings,” Mr Cussen added.