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Planning Portal Market Insight Report: A year on from Lockdown One – how is the market faring?

by on May 13, 2021

It is now over a year since the first national lockdown, during which we saw the number of planning applications submitted plummet. In this month’s Planning Market Insight Report we have taken the opportunity to look back over the last year and see how far we have come. Throughout 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, we saw application patterns change dramatically, defying all seasonal trends and far surpass previous years in terms of the number of applications submitted. We are now questioning whether these trends have settled back down, now that there is some sense of normality back in our lives.

Over the last five years we have seen submission rates of planning applications drop off throughout April. We thought this year may be different, but in line with previous years, April 2021 saw 65,357 applications submitted, down from 77,289 in March of this year. Having analysed this data, we have concluded that there are a few reasons as to why this may be.

One answer is the seasonal fluctuation – every year there is an initial drop in April. We see an initial flurry post-Christmas that builds into the spring, allowing applicants to get permission to build in better weather months. Is it also linked to the end of the tax year where planning consultants have pushed throughout March to bill their work? We should note that April this year included the Easter holidays, meaning fewer working days available for professionals to submit applications.

In the report, we have analysed application submissions on a regional basis throughout England and for Wales and compared rates of submission between April 2020 and April 2021. Overall, there is a very positive outlook. The North East has seen the most notable difference in submissions, with a 92% increase on their figures from last year. This has been closely followed by the North West at 85%.

The report delves into activity in the South East throughout 2021, the region which is receiving the highest number of applications, closely followed by London. It also includes a contribution from Outsmart, the organisation championing Out Of Home advertising. They have seen dramatic changes to the advertising industry over the last year and explain the new and inventive ways companies are reaching audiences, despite the country being kept at home. 

For free access to this data and market insight and to ensure it is delivered straight to your inbox each month, register here.

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