Areas most likely to get planning permission, and areas least likelyThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Analysis has revealed that West London is home to the most “NIMBY” councils in the country.
Data shows that Hillingdon London Borough Council rejected a higher proportion of planning permission applications than any other local authority over a 10-year period.
Between 2012 and 2022, a Hillingdon resident needing an extension had only a 59 per cent chance of having their application approved, according to Telegraph analysis.
Of the 5,188 applications received by Hillingdon Council during this period, only 3,048 were approved.
Following this town was Maldon, a town on the Blackwater estuary in Essex, where the chance of rejection for a small-scale development was also one in three.
It comes as Michael Gove is expected to announce a relaxation in planning laws allowing sustainable development on brownfield sites to automatically proceed in major cities, as part of a long-term plan to increase housing delivery.
The Secretary of State for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities said at the weekend that most young people would not be able to buy their first home without the Bank of Mum and Dad.
He warned that failing to address the housing crisis could drive young people towards populism.
He said: “This is an obstacle to young people feeling that democracy and capitalism are working for them.”
Of the top 10 most frequented “NIMBY” areas – short for “not in my backyard” – six were in the capital.
Harrow, in north-west London, was the third most reluctant to give the green light, approving only 62 per cent of applications.
The applications in the Telegraph’s analysis were for substantial improvements to a property, such as extensions, groundworks or subdivision into flats, rather than major development.
Approval of minor changes may sometimes depend on factors such as the natural beauty of the area.
In a decision made in January 2024, Hillindon Council rejected a proposal to replace the garage with a bungalow because the building would be “visually incongruous” and “fail to harmonize” with the local neighbourhood.
In 2023, Maldon Council rejected proposals to build a four-bedroom house on the grounds that it would “destroy the rural character” of the site.
Hillingdon, Maldon and Harrow are all areas with protected status.
For example, there are at least 10 nature reserves in Maldon. Its residents have taken to social media to object to major planning applications in their area, which they say will put pressure on local infrastructure and threaten local green spaces.
Planning red tape and so-called “NIMBYism” have been blamed for preventing new housing development.
In its 2019 manifesto the Conservatives promised to build 300,000 new homes a year by mid-2020, but so far it has repeatedly failed to meet this target.
In 2022-23, the number of new homes built was less than 235,000.
Britain’s housing shortage is a major factor behind rising property prices and record rents, which experts say is hindering social mobility and undermining economic growth.
Steve Turner of the Home Builders Federation said: “The lack of land coming through the planning system is a significant cause of the housing shortage we face whose social and economic impact is growing rapidly.
“Localism is a fundamental principle we support and it is important that local people are involved in agreeing what is built in their areas to ensure that developments benefit both new and existing residents yes.
“However, localism cannot be the only means of preventing development and the role of the planning system is to balance sometimes conflicting needs while ensuring the required number of homes are built.”
Over one million small planning applications were lodged with local councils between 2012 and 2022, of which 83 per cent were approved.
The most “yimby” council – the authority with the highest approval rate – was the City of London, where 98 per cent of applications were approved.
Shravan Joshi, chair of the City of London Corporation Planning and Transportation Committee, said the council has seen year-on-year growth in applications and approvals since the pandemic, with the planning pipeline in a “very healthy state”.
A spokesperson for Hillingdon Council said the data does not reflect its current performance, adding that the borough’s approval rate for the year to September 2023 is 78 per cent.
“The focus on smaller applications also excludes larger developments that often bring significant economic and other benefits to residents.
“We are committed to creating a green and sustainable borough with safe, strong communities and rigorous scrutiny of planning applications is integral to that commitment, to ensure we best protect areas of open space, including “We have a lot of them, as well as prevent over-development of urban areas.”
The London Borough of Hillingdon is home to areas with protected status – John Lawrence
A spokesperson for Maldon District Council said: “Maldon District Council has an approved local development plan which it uses to determine the planning applications it receives.
“The Council welcomes high-quality and well-designed development, but will strictly enforce its planning policies to ensure that new developments comply with these policies and have minimal impact and maximum impact to the district. Keep the benefits.”
Cllr Marilyn Ashton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration for the London Borough of Harrow, said Harrow welcomed the quality development that meets the needs of the borough.
He added: “We are also prepared to protect our residents from inappropriate development that does not meet our planning rules. Planning proposals are rejected because they do not comply with the adopted planning policy.
“In Harrow, we are very fortunate to have many conservation areas and listed buildings, as well as lots of green belt and metropolitan open land.
“These special areas require a high level of protection against harmful and inappropriate development, as do a large number of leafy and attractive suburban areas.
“That is why we adopted our supplementary planning documents to preserve the character of our suburbs.
“Between 2019 and 2022, Harrow exceeded its housing target, delivering 2,650 new homes against the target of 2,070, in doing so meeting the government’s housing delivery test and allowing Harrow to become a London borough without any restrictions from central government. Made it one of only 14 cities.”
How long does planning permission last – and what to do when it expires