Planning applications failing to increase

Data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have shown that planning applications for new homes have fallen over the quarter ending June this year, compared with the previous year, despite the government pledging to increase new home building.

The data indicates that between April and June 2018, there were 4% fewer planning applications made compared to the same quarter in 2017. This figure is further backed up by another 4% drop in planning applications being granted during that period - with 94,300 applications approved. This accounts for 88% of the overall number submitted and the same number as the previous year.

A breakdown of these figures shows that residential applications were down by 3% with most for minor developments and there was a 10% drop in commercial applications. Permitted development prior approval applications were also down by 9%, with many of these for changes to residential use. Two-thirds of these were approved without needing to go through the full planning process.

Overall for the year to June 2018, there was a 3% drop in district-level planning application approvals. 87% were decided within 13 weeks or within the agreed time - a 1% drop on the previous year.

Richard Beresford from the HBA has stated that reforms to the planning permission system to encourage more robust plan making are welcome, however, the reform overall is required. He points out that planning remains inconsistent, expensive and risk-driven and that diversification will not happen if new players are not encouraged into the market.