The South East authorities with housing application approval rates of less than 50 per cent

Eight councils in the South East of England have approval rates for housing applications of less than 50 per cent, while the region appears to have a lower average residential application approval rate than other parts of England, according to exclusive research.

West Oxfordshire District Council offices in Witney. Pic: Y.m.oxon, Wikipedia
West Oxfordshire District Council offices in Witney. Pic: Y.m.oxon, Wikipedia

The study, carried out by Planning’s sister organisation DCS, analysed decisions on planning applications for five homes or more between 2 October 2017 and 5 March 2020.

The data, covering a period of about two-and-a-half years, shows that overall, 61 per cent of qualifying planning applications in the region were approved over the study period - 1,801 out of a total of 2,949 applications on which decisions were made.

The 61 per cent figure for the proportion of applications approved in the South East is appears to be lower than the official government statistics on national approval rates for major (ten or more homes) and minor (nine or fewer homes) applications, though the time period and methodology for the two sets of data are different.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) figures show that application approval rates across England were 82 per cent for majors and 74 per cent for minors in 2018/19.

Meanwhile, eight councils in the South East out of a total of 59 - about 14 per cent - had approval rates of less than 50 per cent between October 2017 and March 2020, our study found (see map and table below).

Please click on the graphic below to enlarge.

The South East councils with the lowest approval rates for qualifying housing applications over the study period were: West Oxfordshire (29 per cent); Test Valley (33 per cent); Crawley (42 per cent); and Guildford (43 per cent).

Tandridge, Mid Sussex, Elmbridge and Bracknell Forest also showed approval rates of less than 50 per cent.

The councils with the highest application approval rates were: Winchester (82 per cent); Reading (80 per cent); Slough (76.5 per cent); and the Isle of Wight (76 per cent), with Chichester, Medway and Maidstone close behind.

The full report, including details on the methodology, can be read here.

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