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London boroughs’ planning approval rates vary widely

Words: Laura Edgar
Approved / Shutterstock_792865963

There is a 50 per cent divergence in planning approval rates across the planning committees at London boroughs, suggests a consultant’s report.

The Built Environment Communications Group (BECG), a development communications group, tracked the approval rates in the 12 months to April 2019.

It found:

  • Harrow, Kingston-upon-Thames and Tower Hamlets approved 100 per cent of the planning application considered.
  • Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hackney and Wandsworth approved 97 per cent and came in second.
  • Bromley and Lewisham approved 50 per cent, leaving them at the bottom of the table.
  • Westminster saw a 50 per cent drop in large applications considered.
  • Nearly half of planning committee meetings in Kingston-upon-Thames were cancelled owing to a lack of applications being ready for a decision.
  • Lewisham’s strategic planning committee, which considered the borough’s largest applications, had just one application come before it.

Max Camplin, director and head of London at BECG, said the research “comes at an important time, following May 2018’s local elections, and ahead of next year’s London mayoral elections”.

Across the capital, there is an “acute” housing shortage and many are unaffordable, Camplin said, “so we expect planning to be a prominent topic debated by the candidates”.

“However, while being vital for London’s future social and economic success, delivery of housing across the capital is still very much dependent on the postcode location. The risk profile based on our performance data should give pause for a major developer if they are considering investing in one of the clusters of the worst performing London boroughs.   

“Key issues continue to revolve around delivery of affordable housing contributions by developers, the provision of supporting infrastructure, design and height – all of which accounted for the failure of some of the most notable major applications in the past year.”

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