New report highlights the impact of COVID-19 on planning

Planning Portal release report about the impact of COVID-19 on planning applications.

The UK had lifestyle and business operating restrictions imposed on 23 March 2020 in a drastic but needed step to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

As it has in every aspect of life, the limitations have had a significant impact on the planning and construction industries. 

Construction has long been a central tenet of government's economic growth strategy but this was brought to a halt by the national lockdown. In the planning arena specifically, many businesses have furloughed staff and some have found constructive solutions to manage work remotely.

Now, as construction sites start to reopen, the Planning Portal shares what all of this has meant for the nature and volume of planning applications submitted in the first of its Planning Market Insight Reports.

Sarah Chilcott, Managing Director at the Planning Portal, said: "Obtaining market data to inform business planning has never been more critical than it is today and we are therefore delighted to be able to release this data publicly and comprehensively for the first time. We welcome feedback on what else organisations may find useful to add into future reports."

Key findings:

  • Across England and Wales, planning applications of all types fell on average 3.5% in March and 18.5% in April
  • Applications have fallen most in the worst affected COVID-19 regions; London and the South East, North West
  • Outline planning applications have however held up well, down only 9% in March and 10% in April. This is a positive indicator for longer-term development
  • Applications related to advertising have been hardest hit, down around 60% in April
  • Applications related to telecoms infrastructure are up, demonstrating ongoing investment in 5G networks in particular

Read the full report here.

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