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Application submissions drop in England and Wales

Words: Laura Edgar
House extension / Shutterstock_306149180

In October, 55,567 applications were submitted to local planning authorities in England and Wales, according to the latest data from the Planning Portal.

This is 6 per cent lower than the 58,63 applications submitted in October 2020 and 1 per cent down on submissions in September 2021.

Planning Portal's latest Planning Market Insight Report states that during this month, it would expect to see a rise in the number of applications submitted, following a quiet summer period that often extends from August into September.

“However, this year continues to surpass us as October saw a drop in the volume of planning application submissions – both compared to October 2020 and compared to the previous month of September 2021. This is highly unusual, but not unprecedented, as it was also seen in 2016. It does, however, further reinforce the turbulence of the current market as it continues to settle back to more normal levels following the enormous surge in applications between June 2020 and April 2021.”

The report states that it is unlikely that the usual pattern will continue to be disrupted in the final two months of the year. Application submissions ordinarily rise in November, and December is busy for the first half of the month before the Christmas lull.

October 2021 compared with September 2021

  • North East: 2.1 per cent
  • North West: -3 per cent
  • Yorkshire & Humber: 0.2 per cent
  • East Midlands: -3.6 per cent
  • West Midlands: -5.8 per cent
  • East of England: 0.4 per cent
  • London: 0.5 per cent
  • South East: -0.6 per cent
  • South West: -1.4 per cent
  • Wales: -6.3 per cent

Regionally, there was a decline everywhere in England and Wales when compared with October 2020. The West Midlands reported the biggest year-on-year drop – 11 per cent. Focusing on this region, the report explains that it has seen large growth throughout the pandemic, with 2020 “realising a 14 per cent increase on the previous year, and with 2021 17 per cent up on the previous period last year”.

When comparing October 2021 with September 2021, the North East was the only region with significant increase, which was recorded as 2.1 per cent (see box).

This report also notes the continued decline in home improvement applications, which began in September 2021.

Full planning application submissions fell in comparison with October 2020, down 5 per cent to 11,125.

Image credit | Shutterstock