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Districts report sharp fall in planning applications

Words: Huw Morris
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The number of planning applications to district councils in England fell dramatically in the second quarter of this year, according to latest government figures.

District planning departments received 88,000 applications between April and June, a fall of 23 per cent on the same quarter in 2019, according to statistics complied by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In the year ending to June, they received 398,700 planning applications, down 10 per cent on the year ending June 2019.

Districts reported 82,100 decisions on planning applications in April to June 2020, a drop of 21 per cent on the 103,900 decisions in the same quarter of the previous year. In the year ending this June, authorities decided 369,600 planning applications, down 8 per cent on the previous year. 

Councils granted 71,700 permissions, down 22 per cent on April to June 2019. This is equivalent to 87 per cent of decisions, down 1 per cent on the previous year. Overall, 82 per cent of major and minor decisions were granted, down one percentage point from the quarter ending June 2019.

Government statistics also show 89 per cent of major applications were decided within 13 weeks or an agreed time, a rise of 1 per cent on the same quarter in 2019.

Districts granted permission to 9,100 residential applications, down 17 per cent on a year earlier - 1,000 for major developments and 8,100 for minors. A total of 1,600 applications for commercial developments received permission, down 26 per cent on a year earlier. 
The figures also reveal in the 12 months to June, district level planning authorities made 323,100 decisions, down 9 per cent on the year ending June 2019.

In the year ending June 2020, they granted 41,900 permissions on residential developments, of which 5,300 were for major developments and 36,700 were for minors, down by 15 per cent and 8 per cent respectively on the year. This is equivalent to a fall of 9 per cent in the overall number of residential decisions granted.  

The MHCLG said latest provisional figures show that permission for 356,300 homes was given in the 12 months to June. This is a fall of 11 per cent from the 398,800 homes granted permission in the previous year.

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