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Planning applications at Norfolk council fell 85pc during Covid pandemic

PUBLISHED: 14:27 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:59 05 October 2020

Development applications at a Norfolk council fell by more than four fifths during two months of lockdown, figures have revealed. Photo: Archant

Development applications at a Norfolk council fell by more than four fifths during two months of lockdown, figures have revealed. Photo: Archant

Archant

Development applications at a Norfolk council fell by more than four fifths during two months of lockdown, figures have revealed.

Planning permission was sought at Broadland Council just 44 times from April to June this year - an 85pc drop on both the previous year and the previous quarter.

Councils across Norfolk and Waveney also saw a fall in their planning application numbers, according to data by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk councils had an 18pc drop on the previous year in April to June 2020, while South Norfolk saw applications fall by 22pc.

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North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) recorded a 24pc drop in applications for the quarter, compared to the previous year, and King’s Lynn and West Norfolk council saw figures drop by 25pc.

Planning applications at Breckland Council dropped by 26pc for the same period, compared to 2019, and Norwich city council saw a 29pc fall.

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

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

The total applications received from April to June 2020 were:

• Breckland Council - 286

•Broadland Council - 44

• East Suffolk Council - 573

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• Great Yarmouth Council - 122

• West Norfolk Council - 339

• North Norfolk Council - 248

• Norwich City Council - 153

• South Norfolk Council - 293

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Andrew Whitaker, planning director at the Home Builders Federation, said lockdown was tough for developers, adding: “It was inevitable applications would drop because a lot of builders were forced to furlough staff, but also because of the uncertainty.”

David Renard, the Local Government Association’s planning spokesman, said councils have kept the planning process on track throughout the crisis but warned the loss of planning application fees will have had an impact on revenue.

“The spending review should give councils the ability to set planning fees locally,” he added.

An MHCLG spokesman said planning decisions have been made quickly despite the pandemic.

He said: “We’re determined to build more homes quicker which is why we are overhauling our outdated planning system and providing record investment in housebuilding.

“This includes £12.2 billion investment in affordable housing, giving £450 million to help smaller developers, and allocating £360 million to build more homes on brownfield land.”

Broadland Council was contacted for comment.

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