Application submissions and decisions slump in latest quarter, MHCLG figures show

The number of applications submitted to and determined by local authorities continued to fall during the last quarter of 2019, while the sum total of homes consented in 2019 was down three per cent from 2018, new government figures show.

New housing: number of decisions and units consented both down. Pic Getty Images
New housing: number of decisions and units consented both down. Pic Getty Images

The latest Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) planning statistics, published last week, cover the final quarter of 2019, October to December, before the coronavirus crisis struck. 

They show that England’s district level planning authorities received 100,300 applications between October and December last year, which was down seven per cent on the corresponding quarter of 2018. 

District and unitary councils granted 83,500 decisions in the final three months of 2019, according to the data, a six per cent fall compared to the equivalent period in the previous year. The number of consents equated to 87 per pent of all decisions made, down slightly from the 88 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2018. 

In October to December 2019, 15,200 decisions were made on applications for residential developments, of which 11,100 (73 per cent) were granted.  The number of residential decisions decreased by five per cent, compared to the final quarter of 2018, with the number granted dropping by seven per cent.  

This broader slow-down was mirrored in the number of major residential decisions granted, which decreased by six per cent to 1,500, while the volume of minor residential decisions granted decreased by seven per cent, to 9,600. 

In October to December 2019, 2,300 decisions were made on applications for commercial developments, of which 2,100 (91 per cent) were granted. This total number of commercial decisions granted decreased by eight per cent on the same quarter of 2018. 

Overall in the year ending December 2019, district level planning authorities granted 347,300 decisions, down five per cent on the previous calendar year. 

This included 44,700 decisions on residential developments, which was a fall of six per cent. Of the total, 5,900 were for major developments, seven per cent down compared to the year ending December 2018. 

The provisional figures for homes consented show that permission was granted for 371,800 units in the 2019 calendar year, which was down three per cent from the 383,300 homes granted permission in 2018. The 2018 figure was the highest number for any calendar year since records began in 2008.

Meanwhile, in the year ending December 2019, 8,600 applications for commercial developments were granted, down six per cent on the year ending December 2018. 

During the final three months of 2019, 89 per cent of major applications were decided within 13 weeks, or within the time agreed between the planning authority and application, which was unchanged from the same quarter a year earlier.  

A total of 93 per cent of major development decisions involving performance agreements were made within the agreed time. In comparison, 83 per cent of major decisions not involving performance agreements were made within the statutory time limit of 13 weeks. 


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