*File photo
*File photo

The Department of Planning has noted a marked increase in the number of planning applications received during the period January 1st to June 5th 2014 when compared to that same period of time in 2013.

The total number of planning applications from January 1st to June 5th in 2013 was 196. In 2014 this number is 267.

The total number of planning applications which were ‘determined’ (where a decision was made – either approval or refusal) for this period last year was 157 – while that number is 378 so far for this year.

It was also noted that the time taken to approve planning applications has improved significantly. The percentage of applications to be determined within eight weeks during this period last year was 13 per cent – while it is 29 per cent so far this year. Similarly, the percentage of applications to be determined within twelve weeks during this period last year was 39 per cent – while it is 43 per cent so far this year.

The average time taken to process planning applications for this period in 2013 was 9.9 weeks while it is only 7.1 weeks for 2014.

Regarding building permits, which are an indication of the projects that are actually being built, the total number of building permits received by the Department during this period for 2013 was 301 while it is 381 for 2014. Also improved, is the average time taken to process these permits dropping from 7.7 weeks in 2013 to 3.1 weeks for this period in 2014.

The Minister of Home Affairs Senator the Hon. Michael Fahy JP MP noted: “As planning application numbers are often good economic indicators, the clear increase so far for 2014 is undoubtedly a positive sign and indicative of a possible turnaround in the economy or, at least, heightened confidence in Bermuda’s future. I wish to congratulate the Department of Planning for their improved processing times for applications, further demonstrating their commitment to customer service.”