Number of planning applications in Nothumberland hits five-year low

The proportion and number of planning applications granted approval in Northumberland hit a five-year low during 2019.

In the 12 months up to the end of September, a total of 1,909 applications received permission in the county, while in the previous four years, the figure was at least 2,200.

The proportion of applications approved – 91% – was also lower than it had been in the years ending September 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015.

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However, this percentage was still above the English average for all councils of 88% and the average for unitary authorities of 89%.

Planning permission is needed to build a new construction, make a major change to a building, or change the use of a building.

Overall, Northumberland County Council received a total of 2,394 planning applications from October 2018 to September 2019.

During that period, decisions were made on 2,104 applications with 93% being delegated to officers to decide.

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On this measure, Northumberland is also below the averages, with 95% of English and 96% of unitary authority applications being decided under delegated powers, meaning councillors on planning committees had more say here than elsewhere in the country.

By comparison, during the previous year – up to September 2018, the authority received 250 more applications (2,644), made 300 more decisions (2,422) with more (95%) being delegated, and an additional 350 were approved (2,258 or 93%).

Over the five-year period in question, the highest number of applications received was 2,705 in the year ending September 2017, while the highest number of decisions made and applications approved were both in the year ending September 2015 – 2,453 and 2,293 respectively.

However, the highest percentage of applications approved came in September 2016 and 2017 – both 94%.

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Last year, the local authority also received five ‘county matters’ applications – typically those relating to minerals, such as quarries, and waste – with four decisions being made and three being granted permission.

Meanwhile, the Northumberland National Park Authority, which is its own planning authority, received 61 applications in the 12 months up to September 2019 and made 71 decisions, of which 69 (97%) were approved.