Lockdown planning applications rise by up to 266% in parts of the UK

Somerset West and Taunton see largest spike for home improvements during lockdown as lockdown planning applications rise by up to 266% in parts of the UK, research shows.

Research highlights:
  • New Ministry of Housing data for 2020 reveals planning applications for home improvements increased by 266% during lockdown in Somerset West and Taunton
  • Across the country, applications actually decreased by almost 10%
  • Of the 747 applications made in Somerset West And Taunton between April and June 2020, 715 were granted and 32 rejected
  • Rejected planning applications are likely to have cost householders almost £7,000

New data from the Ministry of Housing reveals planning permission applications for large home improvements like extensions and loft conversions, increased by a massive 266% in Somerset West and Taunton during lockdown. That’s the largest spike seen in the whole of the country and suggests residents were keen to improve and increase the amount of space in their homes. West Suffolk saw a 250% increase in applications, while neighbouring East Suffolk saw a 189% increase in lockdown planning applications.

The research was completed by Roofing Megastore as part of a new renovation study, and the findings show a total of 204 applications were submitted between April and June in 2019, but during the same period this year, that figure increased to 747. Across England, applications actually fell by 8.5% from 255,575 between April and June in 2019, to 233,805 in the same period this year.

During lockdown in Somerset West and Taunton, 715 (96%) of the planning applications were granted, but 32 (4%) were rejected by the local planning authority, costing householders £6,592.00 in wasted application fees.

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One key aspect that affects how likely an application is to be granted, is a property’s location. So, 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.

Over the past three years 3,170,571 applications have been submitted for projects like large home improvements, and 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 Somerset West and Taunton, 95% of applications were granted over the past three years, making it the 99th easiest place to get planning permission in England.

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.

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


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.

Numerous factors affect how likely an application is to be granted – different areas have specific building regulations, planning constraints and development targets. So, this research provides valuable insight into which areas could be the most challenging if you’re planning a renovation that needs planning permission.

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


Rushmoor, Hampshire



11. Darlington, County Durham 97.29%


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 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.

“Roofing Megastore’s ethos is about simplifying processes and adding value. Our founders launched with a simple mission: to simplify the world of roofing and to provide trade prices to everybody. So, given how time consuming and costly the process of applying for planning permission can be, we wanted to conduct this research to provide prospective renovators with valuable information that could save them thousands.”

To read more about the research, and to learn more about the types of projects that require planning permission, visit https://www.roofingmegastore.co.uk/easiest-hardest-cities-planning-permission.


Kindly shared by Roofing Megastore

Main article photo courtesy of Pixabay