Waterford City and County Council is beginning the process of clearing a backlog of some 191 planning applications which have accumulated during the last two months because of the temporary suspension of statutory planning timelines.

The temporary suspending of these time periods and periods of public consultation happened when the Government enacted a s.215A Order in late March this year.

In cases where the five week public consultation period has ended, Waterford County Council will start to issue planning decisions.

However, for applications that were submitted to the local authority after the s.215A Order was put in place, a five week period for public consideration of those plans must now be observed.

This means, essentially, that no decision can be made until Saturday, June 27th.

Heavy workload

Officials in Waterford City and County Council’s Planning Department stated: “The busiest period will be the week commencing the 13th July, in which 107 separate planning applications are due to be decided.

“This is almost five times the number of applications that were due to be decided in the same week last year.”

Continuing, the local authority indicated that it would work to try and ensure that ‘as many applications as possible will be decided well in advance of their due date’.

The issue of public engagement and participation in the planning process, is obviously one which requires careful consideration, and the council went on to state that measures to facilitate this engagement in the planning process have been put in place.

All files, the council says, are being scanned onto their online systems within days of submission.

However, they also noted that for individuals who cannot access the online files, the Planning Department will photocopy the relevant documents and send them by post to interested third parties or will arrange an appointment, so people can view the planning documents in person.

Highlighting some of the significant applications from throughout the county that have been made to the local authority recently, the council counted “a number of upgrades to existing sports clubs, new telecommunications infrastructure, alterations to approved housing schemes as well as a wide range of commercial and industrial developments throughout the city and county.”