Planning authorities decided just 19% of major applications within the statutory period of 13 weeks

The latest government statistics have revealed that district level planning authorities received 11% fewer planning applications between January and March this year compared to last year.


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Planning authorities saw an 11% decrease in applications received in the year ending March 2024 compared to the previous year.

In the first three months of this year, planning departments received 85,800 applications for planning permission. Between January and March 2023, 95,238 applications were received.

In the reported period, planning authorities decided on 79,100 applications for planning permission, marking a 9% decrease compared to the same period last year.

Out of these decisions, 67,400 applications were approved, down 10% from the previous year. This means 85% of all applications decided on were approved.

Planning authorities decided 90% of major applications within 13 weeks or the agreed time, up one percentage point from quarter one the year before. Major applications are classified as those with more than 10 homes or that are bigger than 0.5 hectares.

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They decided 19% of major applications within the statutory period of 13 weeks, up two percentage points from the same period a year earlier.

On 13 June, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) released data on the number of planning applications received and decisions made by English local authorities undertaking district level planning between January and March this year.

The report also included data on the year ending March 2024.

In the year ending March 2024, authorities received 350,800 planning applications, down 11% from the year ending March 2023.

The report noted that since 2009/10, the numbers of applications received, decisions made and applications granted have all followed a similar pattern.

The number of planning applications typically peaks in the July to September quarter and falls in the October to December and January to March quarters.

Public funding for planning departments has dropped by nearly 60% per capita in a decade, suffering the deepest cuts of any council service, while a quarter of all qualified planners have moved from the public to the private sector.

According to the Royal Town Planning Institute, there were 22,000 planning professionals are working in the UK in 2023. 

Labour has pledged to invest £20m in appointing 300 new planning officers, which will be paid for increasing stamp duty on purchases of residential property by non-UK residents by 1%.