Planning applications begin to rise as lockdown eases

Planning application, Planning Portal Market Insight Report

As lockdown eases and furloughed staff return to work, planning application submissions have begun to rise again, a new report has shown

Figures for May revealed that planning submissions were only 14% below expected levels.

Full planning applications, usually larger schemes or changes of use, worsened slightly, down 24% on expected seasonal volumes in May against a drop in April of 23%.

In the latest ‘Planning Portal Market Insight Report‘, planning applications have been analysed by the type of development and geography to give a clear picture of what this means for the planning and construction industries.

Key findings include:

  • All regions have seen a growth in applications from April to May 2020, with the exception of the West Midlands and Wales, which continued to fall slightly, down 1% and 3% respectively
  • Yorkshire and the Humber saw the biggest percentage increase in volume, up 12% in May against April numbers
  • Householder applications, for projects such as extensions and loft conversions, rallied slightly in May, being down only 19% on expected seasonal volumes, instead of the 21% seen in April

Full planning applications

For the first time, the Planning Portal also takes an in-depth look at full planning applications in the first five months of 2020 and the range of non-residential development schemes.

The report breaks down the detail of net additional floorspace included in all non-residential schemes submitted online into the different Use Classes: Retail (A), Office and Industrial (B), Hotels and Institutions (C), Services (D) and Other/Sui Generis (O).

Most additional floorspace was applied for Use Classes B and O, with the single biggest gain in Storage or Distribution (B8). The data indicates a move away from some Retail (A) applications, with two subsets of this Class showing an overall reduction in net floorspace: Financial and professional services (A2) and Drinking Establishments (A4).

Scott Alford, head of business development at the Planning Portal, said: “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.”

Read the full report here.


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