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Number of applications for planning permission rises

Words: Laura Edgar
Application submitted / Shutterstock_434614015

As lockdown measures implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) have begun to ease, the volume of planning applications submitted to the Planning Portal has started to grow.

The Planner reported in May that planning applications of all types fell on average by 3.5 per cent in March and 18.5 per cent in April in England and Wales.

As people were allowed to move around a bit more in May and some furloughed staff returned to work, the Planning Portal's Planning Market Insider Report shows that figures for May were 14 per cent below expected levels. 

The report analyses the type of development and geography. The findings show:

  • All regions have seen a growth in applications from April to May 2020, apart from the West Midlands and Wales, which fell again by 1 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.
  • Yorkshire and the Humber saw the biggest percentage increase, up 12 per cent compared with April.
  • Householder applications, such as extensions and loft conversions, dipped 19 per cent in May compared with expected seasonal volumes, In April, it was down 21 per cent. 
  • Full planning applications, usually larger schemes or changes of use, declined further, down 24 per cent on expected seasonal volumes in May against a 23 per cent drop in April.

The Planning Portal has also looked at planning applications across the first five months of 2020, as well as the range of non-residential schemes. 

The data shows that under the applications submitted gross internal floor space would grow by 5,665 square metres for A5 (hot food takeaways) and by 72,727 square metres for A3 (restaurants and cafés), while there was an overall reduction in net floor space for financial and professional services (A2) and drinking establishments (A4).

Most additional floor space, though, was applied for use classes B (industrial) and O (other/sui generis), with the single biggest gain in storage or distribution (B8). 

Scott Alford, head of business development at the Planning Portal, commented: “It’s encouraging to see the market begin to lift so quickly after the easing of lockdown. Major construction sites reopening has certainly been a big driver, but we’ve also seen many of our consultancy customers returning staff from furlough and productivity picking up across the board.”

Planning Market Insider Report can be found here (pdf).

Image credit | Shutterstock