Which London boroughs have the highest planning and development rate?

London boroughs in the south and central regions have an above-average approval rate for planning permission applications in the city, according to Government data.

Eight of the ten boroughs that recorded the highest approval rates for the 12 months to June 2020 are located in these areas and five are in south west London.

The highest rate of approval was 99% reported in City of London while Wandsworth and Camden both followed in second with 92%.

Wandsworth also boasted the second-highest total number of decisions granted with 2,301.

The London average approval rate of 80% was lower than the 87% for England as a whole, however the capital still amounted to 49,325 of the 323,127 national total.

Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Bristol combined totalled 10,932 decisions granted.

Just seven boroughs in the capital recorded an approval rate higher than the national average and all of these were in south west or central London as allocated by the London Plan.

Kensington and Chelsea is one of those with 2,006 planning decisions granted out of 2,591. 

Merton is another with 1,170 applications granted from 1,475.

Kensington and Chelsea Council responded to the data and said these figures were not unusual and that, if anything, may seem a little lower than previous years due to the effect of the pandemic on people’s plans.

No further statement was provided.

While planning applications and approval rate is high in London’s south and central regions, the number of notices recorded remained low.

Nine of the ten boroughs with the lowest total number of notices occurred in these areas. 

Croydon reported just a single count for both enforcement notices and breach of condition notices.

Richmond, Sutton, and Merton also reported less than ten notices issued in total.

Ealing meanwhile reported the highest number of planning contravention notices in the 12 months with 283. It also had the third highest number of enforcement notices at 136.

Local Authority Building Control pointed out that the planning approval process is separate to building regulations and should be followed to avoid future problems affecting developments.

“Even minor works can be complicated and formal enforcement is always best avoided as it is costly and can involve undoing or opening up work that’s taken place,” it said. 

“Whatever the project, if it needs permission it will be inspected on site at various stages to make sure it complies and is safe.”

Trust for London director of policy, Manny Hothi spoke about the affordability of new housing developments. 

He said: “Whilst there is some Government subsidy available to support affordable housing targets, it quite simply isn’t enough to build the volume of genuinely affordable housing that Londoners, including those in the south west, need.”

He added that Londoners living in the private rented sector have the highest levels of poverty in the city and said that development needs to be more focussed. 

He said: “The simple fact is that we need more funding for social housing.

“Relying on market forces to deliver the affordable homes that London needs will never cut it.”

Planning permission is required for the construction of new dwellings or significant changes to existing ones beyond specified limits. 

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