Planning Applications – 2013 Q1 Statistics

In the first quarter of this year district planning authorities in England:

  • Decided 93,800 planning applications, 7% lower than in the same quarter in 2012
  • Granted 77,000 permissions, 6% lower than in the same quarter in 2012
  • Granted 88% of applications, compared with 87% in the same quarter in 2012
  • Decided 1% fewer residential decisions compared to the March quarter 2012, although numbers of major decisions (10 or more dwellings) were up 7% per cent

In the year ending March 2013, district level planning authorities:

  • Decided 418,500 planning applications, a decrease of 4% on the year ending March 2012 figure
  • Granted 341,700 permissions, a decrease of 4% compared to the figure for the year to March 2012
  • Granted 87% of decisions, unchanged from 2012
  • Decided 58% of major applications in 13 weeks compared with 57% in 2011 to 2012
  • Decided 68% of minor applications within 8 weeks compared with 71% in 2011 to 2012
  • Decided 81% of other applications in 8 weeks compared with 82% in 2011 to 2012
  • Decided 1% fewer residential decisions compared to 2011 to 2012, although major residential decisions were up 2%


UK has highest online sales per capita

A research report by Cushman and Wakefield has investigated the volume of online sales being undertaken in different countries. Whilst the USA has significantly the highest level of online sales by monetary value, somewhat distantly followed by China, the UK is in third position by this measure. When the level of sales are considered in terms of sales per capita and market penetration, the report concluded that the UK has the most developed online retail market in the world. This position will be challenged in the future through the rise of mobile commerce (i.e. that undertaken over ‘smartphones’) in the emerging markets which have a higher mobile penetration.

Old Oak – Britain’s best connected railway station?

Old Oak is set to become potentially Britain’s best connected railway station after the government named the site as the main interchange between High Speed 2 and Crossrail. The Mayor of London, TfL, Hammersmith + Fulham, Ealing and Brent Councils have produced a 30year vision for the regeneration of the area which could create up to 90,000 jobs and 19,000 new homes in addition to other facilities. The area proposed for the new station is characterised by industrial and railway land. This proposal will pump investment and drastically change the site and the wider area of London which aims to bring the area together via a stronger more vibrant community. Find out more information about Old Oak.

Construction Leadership Council – Aim to cut time in construction

A strategy released by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) will be driven forward by a new Construction Leadership Council made up of senior politicians and senior people in the construction industry. It aspires by 2025 to:

  • A 33 per cent reduction in both the initial cost of construction and the whole life cost of assets
  • A 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment
  • A 50 per cent reduction in the overall time from inception to completion for new builds and refurbishments.

The new body will drive these aims through developing a new action plan.

Planning Appeals in the Green Belt to be decided by Eric Pickles

When considering planning applications the government has stated that failure to have a 5 year housing supply is unlikely to constitute the very special circumstances sufficient to justify inappropriate development in the green belt. The government is revising the appeals recovery criteria to consider recovery appeals involving traveler sites in the Green Belt.

Centre Point – permission granted for redevelopment

Yesterday evening (4th July) the planning committee at Camden granted planning permission for the change of use from office to residential at Centre Point. This conversion will result in a £350m investment which will create hundreds of jobs.

Building on flood risk areas

A report released by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said that planning authorities should take on more liability for increased insurance costs if they give planning permission for development in flood risk areas. This is off the back that some MPs are concerned development is still being built on flood risk areas. The report says that local authorities need greater support from central government to resist inappropriate development in flood risk areas.

First new Shale Gas application

Shale gas firm, Cuadrilla has announced it will submit the first planning application to test drill for shale gas since a temporary ban on tests was announced at the end of 2012. This is for a site in Lancashire which was given temporary permission in 2010 which has since expired.

Victoria Gate – Retail development in Leeds

Hammerson was granted outline planning consent for the retail development at Victoria Gate in 2011. It has now submitted detailed designs for the three main buildings which will include a flagship branch of John Lewis, a 30 store shopping arcade and an 800 space car park. If approved construction of the £130m development will start in early 2014. It is predicted the development will create 1,500 retail jobs and 6,000 construction jobs.

Hillingdon – CIL suspension

The council has proposed modifications to clarify the proposed charging rate for retail uses which is currently set at £215 for large scale uses (greater than 1,000sqm) and anything less than 1000sqm as £0. This will be available for consultation till the 9th August.

Waverley Borough Council – Core Strategy found unsound

Last month, Waverley Borough Council was recommended to withdraw their Core Strategy due to the lack of work on housing numbers and site allocations by the Planning Inspector. However, a report considered this week by the council executive recommends that the council does not withdraw the document, although the final decision will be made at the full council meeting on the 16th July.  

Housing requirements needed for Edinburgh City-region

The Scottish government has told the Edinburgh city-region (Edinburgh, East Lothian, Fife, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian) to agree the level of housing requirements after a reporter highlighted that the areas Strategic Development Plan had failed to do so.

Bromley Council over supply of new housing

Bromley is in the rare position to have the capacity to deliver 2,700 more homes over the next 5 years. Councilors have been told the sites in the pipeline are well above the 5 year target at a recent development control committee meeting.

Green light for Bristol Arena

The proposed 11,000 seat music venue on a disused brownfield site next to Temple Meads rail station is back on track after the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) announced it plans to invest £11m to improve the access to the site. This will help move forward the stalled project and will help stimulate economic growth for Bristol and the wider region.

Retailers update

Nicole Farhi the upmarket fashion retailer has gone into administration this week due to the ongoing sluggish economy which puts 120 jobs at risk. Although there is some good news as Dwell, which went into administration recently, has been bought by its previous owner and already 150 jobs have been saved.

Norland Neighbourhood Plan in Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

The neighbourhood Forum for Norland have submitted their prepared plan to the council which is open for consultation until the 26th July. After this date it will be reviewed by an examiner

Right to buy to end in Scotland

More than 450,000 homes have already been sold under the discounted right to buy scheme. Although the Scottish government has roughly 400,000 people on waiting lists for social housing and can no longer afford to see homes sold. This however won’t come into law till at least 2017.

Boris backs Earls Court redevelopment

The proposed 6,775 home redevelopment of Earls Court was approved by Kensington and Chelsea and Fulham councils last year and this week has been backed by the Mayor. The application is still open for a possible call in by Eric Pickles and is also subject to a judicial review later this month. The mayor supported this application as he said the regeneration will create 36,000 construction jobs, and 10,000 jobs once completed.

Lack of 5 year housing supply

Eric Pickles has approved a rejected 450 home scheme outside of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on a Greenfield site, as North Tyneside Council could not indicate it had a 5 year housing supply, as required by the NPPF.

New London Strategic Infrastructure Plan

The mayor is due to produce a Strategic Infrastructure Plan which will sit alongside the 2014 revised London Plan. This new document will be part of the key planning documents for London as set out in the recent 2020 Vision.



  • Ashford Borough Council – Call for sites for new development is open until 27th September
  • Bolton Council - Allocations Plan (showing sites which could be used for development over the next 15 years) published for consultation until 16 August.
  • Borough of Richmond upon Thames – Draft CIL Charging Schedule and Draft Planning Obligations SPD are open for consultation.
  • Hammersmith and Fulham - The council is reviewing its Core Strategy in respect of the proposed development at Old Oak Common. It is also seeking views on whether policies on housing numbers; Hammersmith town centre; employment; traveller sites and waste management should be reviewed.
  • Islington Borough Council – Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Draft Charging Schedule is open for consultation. The Finsbury Park Town Centre draft Supplementary Planning Document is now open for consultation.
  • Lambeth Borough Council – second round of consultation is now open on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Draft Charging Schedule.
  • Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council – Joint Community Infrastructure Levy draft charging schedule is open.
  • Swindon Borough Council – Local Plan 2026 and Statement of Community in Planning submitted to the Planning Inspector, examination due later in the year.
  • Warwick District Council – Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Draft charging schedule is open for consultation. Superstores, supermarkets and retail parks would be £75 per sq m and hotel developments and student accommodation rates would be £80 per sq m


Colliers in the news

HS2 has appointed Colliers International to provide Estates Services for its £42.6bn High Speed 2 rail route. The appointment is for a three year term.