Planning applications for home improvements increased by 190% in Suffolk during lockdown

New data from the Ministry of Housing reveals planning permission applications for large home improvements like extensions and loft conversions, increased by a massive 190% in Suffolk during lockdown.

It is the second largest spike seen across the whole country and suggests residents were keen to improve and increase the amount of space in their homes.

Applications rose by 189% in East Suffolk, 249% in West Suffolk, and in Mid Suffolk applications decreased by 20% when comparing the same period in 2019.

Of the total 3,041 applications made between April and June in 2020, 2,827 were granted and 214 rejected and rejected planning applications are likely to have cost Suffolk householders almost £45,000

The research was completed by Roofing Megastore as part of a new renovation study, and the findings show applications increased substantially between April and June in 2020, in both East and West Suffolk when compared to the same period the year before.

When comparing approval rates in each district during lockdown, West Suffolk residents had the highest likelihood of success, with 95% of applications granted. In East Suffolk 93% were granted and in Mid Suffolk 91% were approved.

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 West Suffolk, 95% of applications were granted over the past three years, making it the 89th easiest place to get planning permission in England. In East Suffolk, 92% of applications were granted, making it the 168th easiest place to get a planning application approved, and in Mid Suffolk 93% were successful, which makes it the 161st easiest place in England to secure planning permission.

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     97.36%

9.      Rushmoor, Hampshire                             97.36%

10.   Darlington, County Durham                    97.29%

To read more about the research, and to learn more about the types of projects that require planning permission, visit

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