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Planning Permission: Approval Rates

Mark Hempshell reports

The subject of planning permission is something that perennially interests investors, developers and householders alike. It is a factor that can dictate not only the likelihood of a project progressing but also the time, cost and overall effort expended too. One particular aspect that is relevant in this regard is the chance of obtaining planning consent in the first place.

When it comes to the chance of obtaining consent, most of us might assume that this likelihood is much the same across the country. In other words, if a scheme is proposed that takes nationally adopted planning rules into account, then the likelihood of approval should be much the same everywhere. 

Recent new research, however, has suggested that this is not the case at all and that there are what might be considered to be glaring inconsistencies between planning permission approval rates around England. 

The latest research has been conducted on behalf of timber products retailer A Wood Idea, who used the data to create a tool enabling applicants to check approval rates nationally. The researchers obtained official government General Development Returns data, which showed applications received and decided by local planning authorities between October 2018 and September 2019. The researchers analysed 149 records, made up of a mix of local authorities including London boroughs, metropolitan districts and unitary authorities.  

The research found that applicants for planning consent in England had an 86% chance overall of getting their application granted. However, nationally the chances of success varied considerably and ranged from as low as 64% to as high as 97%. 

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