There were 659 planning applications approved and 107 refused by Cork City Council in 2021. Photo: Billy macGill

Cork councils in Planning Regulator report for 2021

More than 90% of planning applications submitted to Cork County Council during 2021 were granted permission, a new report has found.

The Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) has published its Annual Overview of the Planning System 2021. The 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 OPR said, the only analysis of its kind of the Irish planning system and includes key statistics and indicators relating to both Cork councils.

Some of the key findings in the report are:

• The planning invalidation rate (the percentage of invalidated planning applications as a proportion of all applications made) for Cork County Council decreased from 23.9% to 22.8% and for Cork City Council and from 16.1% in 2020 to 11.2% in 2021 • In Cork City Council in 2021, 86% of all planning applications were granted permission while 14% were refused. The numbers for Cork County Council were 93% and 7% respectively. The national average grant-rate in 2021 was 88.5% • In total, there were 659 planning applications approved and 107 refused by Cork City Council while Cork County Council approved 2,750 and refused 221 in 2021 • Overall, in 2021, 9.1% of planning application decisions made by Cork City Council were appealed to An Bord Pleanála. Of these, 18% were reversed. In Cork County Council, 4.4% of decisions were appealed with 24.7% reversed. The national average rate of appeal in 2021 was 6.7%, the average reversal rate was 27.7% • Cork City Council had a total of 178 sites designated by local authorities as either vacant and/or derelict. This contrasts with the CSO figure for the county of 4,292. The equivalent figures for Cork County Council were 1,084 and 15,645 respectively.


Planning Regulator Niall Cussen said: “2021 was a year in which local authorities such as Cork city and county councils 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-19 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. While core planning functions continue to experience high volumes of activity, more is also being asked of local authorities.”

The OPR was established in April 2019 on foot of recommendations made by the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments (the Mahon Tribunal). Its purpose is to oversee the continuous enhancement of Ireland’s planning process and its outcomes by driving the co-ordination of planning policy implementation across national, regional and local levels, and ensuring regular reviews of the performance of planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála.

To coincide with the report, the OPR has launched a new online series of videos and flowcharts aimed at helping people navigate their way through the planning application process.