The UK's planning system is multi-faceted and there are many aspects that developers need to be aware of when operating in a specific region.
In this section, we take a look at how LPAs are performing across the South West in regard to average determination periods, application approval and overturn ratios, and housing delivery targets.
Planning Determination Periods
Most planning applications are supposed to be decided within 8 weeks, with major applications being given 13 weeks, and EIA developments given 16 weeks from validation to determination.
LPAs report on the proportion of applications that were delivered within this time period. However, when the stats are reported they normally take into account ‘extensions of time’ where the officer has pre-agreed with the applicant that the assessment period can be extended.
If there is an agreed extension of time then the LPA can report the applications as being within the agreed period, no matter the number of actual weeks that have elapsed. LPAs can be placed into ‘special measures’ if more than 60% of their major applications, or 70% of their non-major planning applications are not determined within the agreed period.
In order to adjust for this reporting method we have ignored the published data and looked instead at the number of weeks between the validation date and determination date to provide an average determination period for major and non-major planning applications and we have examined this performance as a trend from 2018 to 2022.
As you can see from the charts below, while there are some Councils where the median decision times for planning applications is near the 8-week standard for non major planning applications, there are other areas where you will be waiting a lot longer.
Similarly for major planning applications, in some areas you may expect a decision with 13 weeks while in other areas you may be waiting over a year for your decision.
Residential Applications Refusals Overturned at Appeal
We have looked at the proportion of refused applications that were later overturned at appeal for each LPA. You can find a summary of the data here.
Non-Major Residential Appeal Overturns
Major Residential Appeal Overturns
Planning Application Approval and Overturn Ratio Summary
We have looked at the proportion of residential planning applications that were approved by each LPA in the region, and the proportion of refused applications that were later overturned at appeal.
As you can see from the following chart, although the approval rate for Major planning applications has varied over the last five years, in most Councils it has been over 50% in most years, with some demonstrating approval rates up to 100% in some years. This demonstrates that when the applications are taken to committee the issues associated with them have generally been resolved and that they can be approved by the committee.
The data that we have also shows that, in some areas, even if your application is refused by the Council, you have a greater than 50% chance of being successful if you were to take this application to planning appeal.
If you've enjoyed the data insights about planning applications in the South West, check out our other reports for the region below: