Planning applications in 2021: growth indicates increased confidence
Data collated by the Planning Portal so far this year shows that applications for home improvement projects continue to outperform the average rise in application volumes, as they have done consistently since applications bounced back from the shock of the first lockdown in spring 2020. In April 2021, Householder and associated consents were more than double the volume over the same period last year. Of course, last April bore the brunt of the COVID-19 impact, with application numbers for Householder consents 21 per cent lower than April 2019, but regardless – this represents a strong recovery well beyond expected baseline levels.
Other consent types relating to home improvements also performed strongly, with Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) applications and Prior Approvals for Larger Home Extensions both more than double last April’s numbers, at 105 per cent and 123 per cent respectively.
The outlook for larger schemes continues to improve. As with March, volumes for April were 30 per cent higher than last year for Full Planning applications and associated consents. Whilst 30 per cent growth would appear to be a strong increase, we must also note that April 2020 saw volumes fall 23 per cent below the expected baseline, and so the net increase is smaller. Regardless, this marks the eighth consecutive month of growth for Full Planning applications, reflecting gradually increasing confidence for larger schemes.
Of note is that the number of Prior Approvals: Development by Telecoms Operators being submitted is at almost the same level in April as it was in April 2020, in fact down by one per cent. This consent type has performed strongly over the last 12 months, driven by the roll-out of 5G networks. Looking at the volumes themselves rather than the percentage change, we can see that the volumes have been consistently between 200-450 each month over the last 12 months, and so this apparent flattening of growth is actually a reflection that the early part of 2020 marked the beginning of the roll-out programme.
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