Clear North South divide found in planning approval rates

While the majority of planning approvals are successful, you stand a much better chance of getting the green light depending on where you live, according to new research.

Related topics:  Property,  Planning
Property | Reporter
20th October 2023
Planning 652
"Around 30% of appeals are eventually approved, which is why it's so important to consider an appeals strategy before making an initial application"
- Mitchell Fasanya - Searchland

Development site sourcing specialists, Searchland, analysed residential planning application trends by county and found that, as ever, it's all about location, location, location.

According to the data, there is a clear divide and if you want to build or modify a property it’s likely to be a smoother process in the North compared to the South.

Across England as a whole 72% of planning applications are successful, with 28% being rejected.

Three of the four counties with the best approval rates across England are in the North, in County Durham, Tyne & Wear and Cumbria.

Meanwhile, many of the worst areas for planning approvals are in London and the Home Counties, like Bedfordshire, Essex and Greater London.

Best areas for applicants

In County Durham 90% of planning applications go through, signalling that this is a great area to build or modify a property. Meanwhile in Tyne and Wear 89% went through, while Cumbria saw 87% of transactions complete.

Throughout 2022 just 130 applications were rejected in the three counties combined.

The area with the best acceptance rate across England is actually the City of London, at 100%. However, seeing as there were only 13 applications - all of which were successful - you should take this with a pinch of salt.

Worst areas

Bedfordshire is the worst area for approval rates, as just 58% of applications were successful. This is followed by Essex, at 60%, and Greater London, at 62%. Combining these three regions, some 4,000 applications were rejected in 2022 alone.

Co-founder and CEO of Searchland, Mitchell Fasanya, commented:

“Applying for planning permissions can be a painful and time-consuming process, and it’s especially galling when you get rejected.

“When that happens it’s important to note that it’s not the end of the world. It often means you simply need to make changes and reapply or appeal a decision before being given the green light.

"Around 30% of appeals are eventually approved, which is why it's so important to consider an appeals strategy before making an initial application.

“The rejection rate is higher in more built-up Southern counties, so you might have a less stressful time if you focus on Northern areas like Durham, where nine in 10 applications go through without a hitch. Of course, context is key and developers must take into account important factors like settlement boundaries, local housing policy, greenbelt constraints, and historic planning decisions which can derail even the most considered planning applications.”

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