Hardest and easiest places across UK to get planning permission

With all of us spending more time at home than ever this year, we’ve managed to tick off quite a few of those house admin jobs. The attic is finally clear, that broken bath tile is fixed and that dodgy radiator has finally been bled. But it doesn’t stop there, many Brits have been looking into house extensions to gain that much-needed extra space on our properties when WFH and living-rooms-come-schools have become more of the norm!

Large home improvements like extensions and conversions can often require planning permission. So as part of a new renovation study, Roofing Megastore analysed three years of planning application data from the Ministry of Housing, to discover where planning applications are most and least likely to be granted around the country.

The online roofing merchant calculated the percentage of applications granted and rejected at more than 300 district planning authorities around the country, and the results show on average 91% of applications are successful. But, depending on where you live, the success rate for your local area could be as low as 65%, or as high as 99%.

In fact, across the country, the research reveals 309,403 planning applications were unsuccessful over the past three years, which is likely to have cost renovators more than £64 million!

Eight out of the top 10 most difficult places to get planning permission are in London, with Londoners spending a massive £21 million over the past three years on unsuccessful applications. The hardest place to get planning permission is Enfield, with a success rate of just 65%, which is a massive 26% lower than the country’s average. Rochdale in Manchester and Southend-on-Sea in Essex are the only two places outside the capital to feature on the list.

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The 10 Hardest Places to Get Planning Permission in England: (based on % of applications granted)

1. Enfield, London 65.13% – cost of failed applications over 3 years £1,156,690

2. Hillingdon, London 66.01% – £1,622,044

3. Harrow, London 69.56% – £1,143,506

4. Hounslow, London 71.24% – £938,948

5. Greenwich, London 71.47% – £798,044

6. Lambeth, London 73.55% – £1,023,614

7. Rochdale, Greater Manchester 74.03% – £395,314

8. Southend-on-Sea, Essex 74.46% – £549,608

9. Newham, London 76.02% – £468,856

10. Bromley, London 76.82% – £1,313,456

At the other end of the spectrum, the study also reveals the top 10 places most likely to grant an application. According to the data, it’s much easier to gain planning permission in the north of the country – six Northern districts feature in the top 10, three of which are in Cumbria. None of the top 10 easiest places are within London, and just four are in the South of England: Vale of White Horse, Fareham, Cornwall and Rushmoor.

The 10 Easiest Places to Get Planning Permission in England: (based on % of applications granted)

1. Carlisle, Cumbria 98.90%

2. Copeland, Cumbria 98.72%

3. Richmondshire, North Yorkshire 98.17%

4. Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire 97.89%

5. County Durham, North East 97.82%

6. Fareham, Hampshire 97.79%

7. Cornwall, South West 97.39%

8. Eden, Cumbria 97.38%

9. North West Leicestershire, Midlands 97.36%

9. Rushmoor, Hampshire 97.36%

10. Darlington, County Durham 97.29%

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Gian-Carlo Grossi, Managing Director at Roofing Megastore commented: “Home has always been where the heart is, but this year, it’s also needed to be a school, an office, and even perhaps a gym or a cinema. As the world continues to adapt to new ways of living, space is becoming increasingly important for many. We predict a sharp rise in people looking to renovate or adapt their homes in 2020 and beyond, whether that’s to create a home office, to build extra bedrooms or just to optimise their living space.”

Where are the renovation hotspots for 2021?

To discover the places where people are most likely to renovate their homes this year, researchers also analysed Google search data to estimate how many of us could be either planning a project or looking for inspiration.

According to the data, Stockport (Greater Manchester) residents appear to be most interested in renovating this year, closely followed by Rochdale and Warrington. Northern areas dominate the list, showing that the desire to make larger home improvements is more prevalent there than in the south of the country.

Top 10 Home Renovation Hotspots in the UK:

1. Stockport, Greater Manchester

2. Rochdale, Greater Manchester

3. Warrington, Cheshire

4. Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

5. Wigan, Greater Manchester

6. St Helens, Merseyside

7. Oldham , Greater Manchester

8. Bolton, Greater Manchester

9. Doncaster, South Yorkshire

10. Bournemouth, Dorset