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Planning applications may have peaked

The increase in planning applications in England appears to have peaked, according to the latest statistics compiled by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Figures just released by the ODPM have shown that during the third quarter of 2005, district planning authorities in England received 161,000 applications for planning permission and other related consents. This was eight percent lower than in the corresponding period last year.

The ODPM has made it clear that these figures appear to reflect a change from the long-term trend of growth in planning applications received.

The number of applications decreased in all regions compared with the same quarter a year ago. The largest decreases were in the North-West (13 per cent fewer) and the North-East (down 12 per cent). The smallest fall was in the West Midlands (their applications fell by four per cent).

In respect of planning decisions during the third quarter of this year, some 159,000 were made, some 10 per cent lower than a year ago. Again, the decrease occurred in all regions.

The biggest falls were in the North-West (15 per cent), East of England (13 per cent) and the East Midlands (12 per cent). The smallest decreases were in the South-East and London, where the figures were down eight per cent.

Householder decisions decreased by 15 per cent – down to 81,200 from 95,700 – but still accounted for 51 per cent of all decisions.

The proportion of applications granted permission remained the same at 83 per cent.

The figures showed that decisions were made quickest in the North-West and London (84 per cent within eight weeks). Decisions were slowest in Yorkshire and the Humber (74 per cent within eight weeks). The best improvements in performance were the North-East and East of England, up six percentage points on last year.

Authorities made 91 per cent of all decisions within 13 weeks in July to September 2005, one per cent higher than in the same quarter last year; good news for buyers or current owners looking to develop Suffolk properties.

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