Northumberland planning applications hit 25-year low

Planning applications in Northumberland fell by more than 10% during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, new figure show.

By Katie Williams,
Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 1:19 pm
Planning applications hit a 25-year low in Northumberland
Planning applications hit a 25-year low in Northumberland

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows Northumberland County Council received 537 applications for planning permission between April and June – the lowest number since comparable records began in 1996, and an 11% decrease from the same period last year.

In the first three months of the year, it received 555 applications.

The figures include housing, office and retail developments as well as extensions or alterations to existing homes.

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The council made decisions on 484 applications between April and June, of which 456 were granted.

Across England as a whole, local authorities received 88,000 planning applications between April and June – down by almost a quarter from 2019.

Andrew Whitaker, planning director at the Home Builders Federation, said the national lockdown period had been tough for developers.

He said: "It was inevitable that applications would drop, not least because a lot of builders were forced to furlough staff, but also because of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

"The Government remains committed to increasing supply still further and demand is strong, evidenced by the very strong recovery of the new homes market in recent months."

David Renard, planning spokesman for the Local Government Association, said councils have kept the planning process on track throughout the crisis – including introducing virtual committee meetings – but warned the loss of planning application fees will have had an impact on revenue in some areas.