In the first quarter of 1998, district planning authorities in England received 127 thousand applications for planning permission and other related consents, 8 per cent more than in the corresponding period in 1997.
The number of applications received increased in all regions. Applications rose by 13 per cent in Eastern region and Yorkshire and the Humber.
District planning authorities made 105 thousand planning decisions in the first quarter of 1998, 5 per cent more than in the corresponding period in 1997. The number of decisions rose in most regions except the North West (down 2 per cent) and Merseyside (down 1 per cent). The largest increases were in the South East (up 10 per cent) and Eastern region (up 8 per cent).
The number of decisions relating to householder developments in England was 15 per cent higher than a year earlier, while the number relating to new dwellings was broadly unchanged. These accounted for 38 per cent and 12 per cent of all decisions respectively.
Chart 1 shows the number of planning applications decided and the percentage decided within 8 weeks (both actual and seasonally adjusted), in each quarter since January to March 1988.
District planning authorities granted 87 per cent of the applications they decided in the first quarter of 1998, the same as in the corresponding period in 1997. There was little change in approval rates for each region.
Speed of decision
In the first quarter of 1998, 60 per cent of all planning decisions were made within the statutory eight week period, 1 percentage point lower than in the corresponding quarter of 1997. The percentage of decisions made within 8 weeks fell in all regions except Merseyside (up 6 percentage points) and the North West and Eastern region (up 1 percentage point) and was unchanged in the West Midlands. Authorities made 81 per cent of all decisions within 13 weeks.
There were 23 authorities (6 per cent of all those responding authorities) making 80 per cent or more of their decisions within the statutory eight week period and 20 authorities making fewer than 40 per cent of decisions within 8 weeks.
Responding Authorities for January to March 1998
Of the 373 district planning authorities, 363 provided figures in time for this publication (that is, 97 per cent of all authorities).
Applications decided under delegated powers
Since April 1997, district planning authorities have provided information about the number of applications decided by planning officers under a scheme of delegation and without referral to committee or councillors.
Of the 357 authorities that provided information about delegated decisions in the first quarter of 1998, only 4 per cent did not use delegated powers for any decisions.
From April 1997, district planning authorities have provided information about the number of applications decided which were advertised as departures from the development plan in force, and the number of departure applications which were granted.
A total of 359 authorities (96 per cent) were able to provide this information for the period January to March 1998. Of the planning decisions taken by these authorities, 959 were advertised as departures from the development plan, just under 1 per cent of the total. New dwellings accounted for 43 per cent of departures decisions. An average of 60 per cent of departure applications were granted, compared with 87 per cent of planning applications overall.
Enforcement action by district planning authorities
In January to March 1998 district planning authorities issued 1,207 Enforcement Notices and served 1,397 Planning Contravention Notices, 425 Breach of Condition Notices and 46 Stop Notices. Of the 15 Enforcement Injunctions granted by the High Court or County Court, 5 were refused.
Regulation 3 and 4 consents
Under Regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, a local planning authority makes an application to itself for permission to develop land within its area, and determines that application. In the first quarter of 1998, 1,535 Regulation 3 consents were granted and 145 Regulation 4 consents were granted.
Regulation 4 is concerned with planning permission for development of land in which the local planning authority has an interest but which it does not itself propose to carry out.
Applications for determination
In the first quarter of 1998, district planning authorities received 3,323 applications for determination whether local authority approval is required for certain works. There were 14,045 applications for 1997/98, an increase of 27 per cent on the previous year (Table 6). District planning authorities decided to intervene in 541 cases (16 per cent), a fall of 6 percentage points on the previous quarter.
'County matters' planning applications are predominantly concerned with minerals extraction and waste disposal developments. They are decided by the county-level planning authorities - that is, county councils, metropolitan districts, unitary authorities, London boroughs, urban development corporations (within metropolitan areas) and national park authorities. However, because of the nature of
county matters applications, the large majority are handled by the county councils.
County planning authorities receive about two thousand 'county matters' applications each year. This compares with about 500 thousand planning applications received by district planning authorities. Quarterly figures for 'county matters' decisions are likely to be much more variable than those for districts because of the smaller numbers of such decisions.
Planning applications and decisions
In the first quarter of 1998, county planning authorities received 562 planning applications, 5 percentage points lower than for the corresponding quarter of 1997. County councils accounted for 84 per cent of total applications and metropolitan districts for a further 10 per cent. Lancashire received the highest number of applications (30) in the quarter.
County planning authorities made 409 planning decisions in the quarter, 19 per cent fewer than a year earlier. Of these, 88 per cent were granted, the same as in the first quarter of 1997. Waste developments accounted for 58 per cent of total decisions and minerals developments for 32 per cent. Hampshire reported the highest number of decisions (25) in the quarter.
Speed of decision
In the first quarter of 1998, 10 per cent of all decisions on county matters' applications were made within the statutory 8 week period (1 percentage point higher than the first quarter of 1997), 35 per cent were made within 13 weeks and 54 per cent were made within 17 weeks.
County planning authorities have provided statistics on formal enforcement action taken each quarter since April 1995. In the period January to March 1998, county planning authorities issued 30 Enforcement Notices and served 4 Stop Notices, 50 Planning Contravention Notices and 10 Breach of Condition Notices.
Responding authorities for January to March 1998
Of the 145 county planning authorities, 142 (98 per cent) provided figures in time for this publication.
District Planning Authorities
1. The term district planning authorities' describes the group of authorities with responsibility for deciding planning applications at district-level': metropolitan and non-metropolitan districts, new unitary Authorities (those created from April 1995 onwards), London boroughs, urban development corporations and national park authorities.
2. Statistics of planning applications received and decided by district planning authorities have been collected on a quarterly basis since April 1979, on the PS1 and PS2 General Development Control statistical returns. Prior to April 1986, these returns covered applications and decisions under Section 29 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 (since replaced by Section 70 of the consolidated Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which came into force
in August 1990).
3. Since then, data collection has been extended to cover other
types of application requiring permission from local authorities,
including listed building consents, conservation area consents and consent to display advertisements. This reflects the wider range of planning casework handled by district planning authorities. From April 1997, data have also been collected on receipt of Environmental Statements with planning applications, on the use of delegated powers, and on applications which the authority decided to advertise as departures from the Development Plan.
4. District planning authorities are sent the quarterly information bulletin together with more detailed figures for individual authorities in their respective Government Office region. These provide a set of yardsticks against which authorities can judge their own figures.
5. County councils, metropolitan district councils, London borough councils and national park authorities are responsible for determining planning applications and types of development described as 'county matters'. These are predominantly concerned with minerals extraction and waste disposal developments, as set out in Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Town and Country Planning (Prescription of County Matters) Regulations 1980 (SI 1980/2010) and in Annex 7 of Planning Policy Guidance Note 23 'Planning and Pollution Control'.
6. Until March 1986 decisions made by county councils had been included in the returns (PS1/PS2) submitted by the district planning authorities. A review of these returns in 1985 recommended that information about county council applications should be collected separately and a quarterly collection of county council development control statistics relating to county matters' planning applications (the CPS1/2 Return) was introduced from the beginning of April 1989.
From April 1992, data collection was extended to cover other types of authority (listed above) with responsibility for county matters' applications. From April 1995, the scope of the quarterly survey was widened to include collection of data on enforcement action taken by authorities relating to county matters' developments and from April 1997, data have also been collected on receipt of Environmental Statements with county matters' planning applications.
7. All figures included in the commentary have been calculated using unrounded data. As a result, there may be some apparent discrepancy with figures shown in the tables.
8. All statistics shown in Tables 1 to 6 and 8 to 12 are based on information provided to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions by 12 June 1998. Figures received from planning authorities after that date have been included only in Table 7 and only where this was possible within the publication schedule.
9. The reorganisation of local government in England has necessitated a change in the presentation of statistics for local authority areas. Figures for the new UAs are shown in Table 7 within the former county structure.
10. Where data are presented by type of authority' in Table 2, figures for unitary authorities are included in the category non-metropolitan districts'. In Tables 8 to 11 (relating to county matters'), figures are shown separately for the category unitary authorities'.
11. The primary classification for the presentation of regional statistics has changed from the Standard Statistical Regions (SSRs)
to Government Office Regions (GORs) (Table 2 and Maps 1 and 2). A guide to the composition of Government Office Regions and their relationship to the Standard Statistical Regions is given at Annex A.
Figures for the Standard Statistical Regions are available on request from the Planning and Land Use Statistics Division, Department of the
Environment, Transport and the Regions, 3/K9, Eland House,Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU. Tel. 0171 - 890 5502 Fax. 0171 - 890 5519.