Planning applications on the increase

Chris Brennan

Reporter:

Chris Brennan

Email:

chris.brennan@newrydemocrat.com

THE construction industry has enjoyed a bouyant start to 2020.

Figures show that the number of new applictaions for planning in Newry Mourne & Down Distrct Council area during the month of January was 169.

This is the highest number of applications recorded over the last eight months.

Currently, the Council reports that there are 945 live planning applications.

Of these 219 applications are over 12 months old.

In January of this year a total of 1,554 decisions were issued. Of these 1,325 were approvals (85%) with 229 refusals (15%).

Figures also reveal that currently there are 23 current appeals in Newry and Mourne, and 14 in Down.

Meanwhile, more than 140 construction industry professionals gathered in Belfast y for the launch of ‘Foundations of Future Growth’ – an annual construction industry review by leading construction consultancy firm AECOM. The event took place at the Ten Square Hotel, Belfast

AECOM’s review surveyed 250 construction industry professionals and spoke to industry leading experts about the issues facing them today. It predicts a rise of 3.5% in price inflation for 2020, on top of the 5% price inflation the industry experienced in 2019. This prediction raises uncertainty as to how the construction sector will perform in 2020 and beyond.

Lack of government funding (50%), planning (46%) and economic uncertainty (34%) were cited by industry professionals in Northern Ireland as the three main challenges facing construction companies that are trying to deliver large scale projects.

However, the consensus between industry professionals attending the event that the return of the Stormont Assembly could mean a re-boot for the construction sector in Northern Ireland and a rise in construction output over the next 12 months.

Trevor Leaker, Director AECOM said, “A number of factors are contributing to increasing costs such as the talent shortage in NI, competition from a busy ROI market and the continued success of NI contractors pricing their work similar to that in Great Britain. Opportunities arising outside of NI have made it increasingly more difficult to secure electrical and plumbing tradespeople for key projects. After three years of public sector inactivity, a huge need for infrastructure investment has built up and whether industry can satisfy this demand depends on whether the right skilled workers are available.”

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