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Application submissions rise in November 2020

Words: Laura Edgar
Application submitted / Shutterstock_434614015

Despite tiered and national lockdowns in place in England and Wales in November 2020, 81 more applications were submitted compared with October, according to Planning Portal’s latest Market Insight report.

October 2020 saw a rise of 23 per cent in the number of planning applications submitted to the Planning Portal compared with the same month in 2019, but applications submitted in November exceeded this rise.

In November 2020, 59,044 planning applications were submitted through the Planning Portal, a 32 per cent increase in submissions compared with November 2019 (44,677 submissions) and a rise of 1 per cent when compared with October 2020.

The November figures almost equalled July’s record total of 59,062.

The report states that in contrast with November 2019, householder applications are up by 51 per cent. Traditionally, Planning Portal explains, there would usually be “an overall reduction in the number of applications submitted during the wind down to Christmas”.

“A 51 per cent increase not only bucks this trend but far surpasses anything we would have expected.”

For the second time since March and the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, full planning and associated consents are being submitted at a higher rate than 2019. This increase is similarly reflected in the number of outline applications submitted – 4 per cent more than in 2019.

The number of advertising applications submitted is still fewer than in 2019.

The percentage change in applications by region from October to November 2020:

  • North East: +1 per cent
  • North West: +13 per cent
  • Yorkshire & The Humber: +17 per cent
  • East Midlands: +7 per cent
  • West Midlands: +9 per cent
  • East of England: +10 per cent
  • London: +8 per cent
  • South West: +7 per cent
  • South East: +12 per cent
  • Wales: +1 per cent

Applications were up by 40 per cent in November 2020 when compared with the same month in 2019. They also rose by 17 per cent compared with October 2020.

The North East reported a 44 per cent increase on the numbers seen in November 2019. Both the East and West Midlands “are showing consistently high levels with the market moving in the right direction, making a quick recovery after the vast downturn in numbers seen throughout March and April”, says the report.  

This report focuses on the North West, which saw a 37 per cent increase in application submitted in November 2020 compared with a year earlier. Looking at cities Manchester and Liverpool; Manchester was below 2019’s total in October by 7 per cent but surpassed 2019’s totals by 20 per cent in November while Liverpool saw increases of 31 per cent and 23 per cent in October and November respectively when compared with the corresponding month a year earlier.

Regarding prior approval for office to residential conversions, nearly half (832 ‘applications’) were submitted in London and the South East between January and November 2020. The lowest number was recorded in the North East, which the report states “could potentially reflect the lower demand for housing need due to available housing stock”.

The months of April and May show the lowest number of submissions, apart from January. From June onwards there was an increase in the number of submissions.

Scott Alford, head of business development at Planning Portal, said: “Overall, we have seen 1,724 online applications submitted throughout 2020 for prior approvals. Unsurprisingly, it is London and the South East that has the highest rate of submissions – accounting for nearly 50 per cent of all applications. However, with the way the world has drastically changed over the last 12 months, there may be more opportunities for these office redevelopments, and we may see these trends spread further throughout England and Wales.”

Planning Market Insight Report can be found on the Planning Portal website.

Image credit | Shutterstock