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52% year-on-year increase in planning applications

Words: Laura Edgar
House extension / Shutterstock_306149180

The Planning Portal received 63,497 applications for planning permission in England and Wales in May 2021 – up 52 per cent compared with May 2020.

According to the Planning Market Insight Report: June 2021, this is a 3 per cent decrease on the number submitted in April 2021.

In May, The Planner reported that April was the first month in 2021 to show a decline in the number of applications submitted, with 65,357 applications submitted, down from 77,289 in March.

Planning Market Insight Report: June 2021 states that there tends to be an increase in the number of applications submitted from April to May, but that it is “too early to draw any definite conclusions from the variation”.

The report suggests that it could be because April 2021 submissions were higher than typical April, and May 2021 had a particularly low number of working days compared with the previous year at 19, or that the bounce-back of applications seen since last June, following the easing of lockdown one restrictions implemented to contain the spread of Covid-19 has started to slow.

Across all regions in England and Wales, the number of planning applications increased in May 2021 compared with a year earlier. For the third month in a row, the North East is the leading region in the number submitted, up 67 per cent compared with May 2020.

Planning Portal notes that historically, the region has seen “little activity” in terms of development. Since 2017, though, the North East has seen “significant increases in business generation and investment”, including having the “most productive” car plant in Europe. This could be the reason for the increase in activity, the report suggests, or it could be that London and the South East “are becoming a saturated market”.

Having said that, the South East is the only region not to see a decrease in applications submitting, rising by 1 per cent month-on-month, with more than 13,000 applications submitted. London saw more than 11,000 applications submitted in second place, although this is a decline of 4 per cent compared with April 2021.

As they have done since the first lockdown, home improvement applications continue to outperform the average rise in applications. In May this year, householder consents were 88 per cent higher than in May 2020, against a total increase of 52 per cent. The report notes that may 2020 was not a typical month as construction sites remained closed.

Full planning applications and consents were 32 per cent higher in May 2021 compared with May 2020.

Read more:

South East submits most applications seeking permission

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