Planning Applications Are Falling And Failing

Analysis from Searchland has revealed residential planning applications dropped to their lowest annual total in a decade in 2022. Successful versus rejected application are at their lowest since 2008.

Searchland, which is a specialist at providing information on where residential development permission has been applied for, looked at historic data on the number of approved, rejected and pending residential planning applications between 2002 and 2022 and how the number of applications has changed.

The research shows that in 2022 an estimated total of 60,986 residential planning applications were either approved, rejected or are still awaiting a decision. Not only was this the lowest annual total seen since 2012 (59,013) but it marked a -5% annual decline versus the 64,419 seen in 2021. The -5% year on year decline seen in 2022 was also the fifth consecutive annual decline, with total applications having fallen every year since 2018.

Of the 45,182 residential planning applications seen in 2022 that were either approved or declined, 32,956 were approved versus 12,226 that were rejected.


73 to 27

As a result, planning application approvals accounted for 73% of the total versus the 27% that were rejected.

The 2022 success rate of 73% was down from 75% over the previous three years and was also the lowest success rate seen since 2008 when, in the midst of the financial crisis, just 68% of all applications were approved.




Co-founder and CEO of Searchland, Mitchell Fasanya, says: “Despite the residential property market benefitting from a pandemic inspired boom, the number of planning applications made has been in steady decline in recent years.

“This is down to a number of factors, including the higher cost of materials and labour shortages that will have had an impact on developer abilities to execute efficiently. Not to mention the market uncertainty that has developed following a string of interest rate hikes which will have seen many developers tread with greater caution in anticipation of a reduction in market values.

”While less significant, the recent Help to Buy deadline is also sure to have had an influence with many developers pausing to re-evaluate where, what and to whom to target their efforts.”


Housing crisis

Fasanya adds: “Although the market has stood firm so far, it will be interesting to see how this trend materialises over the coming year but one thing is for certain, the housing crisis is going nowhere and we need to encourage more homes to be built, not less, which starts with planning approval.”       


Picture: Housing planning approvals and applications are down by record levels.


Article written by Cathryn Ellis
09th May 2023


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