Concerns for the planning system likely to be heightened as percentage of major and minor planning decisions lowest in fourth quarter since 2015

The percentage of major planning decisions made within statutory time limits has fallen to its lowest figure in the final quarter of the year since 2015.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities planning figures, released yesterday, showed the percentage of major planning applications decided within the required 13 weeks was 86% between October and December 2021. This is down by two percentage points on the same period in 2020 and is the lowest for October to December since 2015, when 83% of applications were made on time.

The figure was however slightly up on the previous quarter’s figure of 85% (see below)

Percentage of applications made within statutory time periods

But previously the proportion of major applications decided on time had not been lower than this since April to June 2016 and the following quarter, when the figure was 85% in each quarter. Major applications in housing are defined as those with 10 dwellings or more.

The year-on-year drop is likely to further fuel fears that the planning system is struggling following council staffing cuts and due to the impact of remote working. 

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