The number of applications for large scale housing developments is up nearly 70% according to An Bord Pleanála's annual report.

The planning authority reports that there were a total of 66 applications for Strategic Housing Developments (SHD) in the first eight months of this year which involve plans for more than 100 housing units or 200 student bed spaces.

This compares with just 37 in the same period last year.

The board has been dealing with SHD applications since fast track planning legislation came into force in 2017, and in the last six months of that year there were just 13 applications.

These plans go directly to the board for a decision and bypass the planning departments in local authorities.

Permission has now been granted for a total of 16,172 housing units and 7,573 student bed-spaces under the system.

The planning board reports that there is a "strong pipeline" of SHD cases with 100 new cases already in pre-application consultation and indications of further requests. 

The report says it is part of an overall upward trend of increased residential construction and planning activity as the economy has recovered.

The total number of planning applications was up 16% last year on the year before, and the increase along with a new computer system was blamed for the fact that decisions were made within the statutory time period in only 40% of cases in 2018.

However, the compliance rate has increased to 66% up to the end of August this year.