By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.


Looking for planning approval? Here are the best and worst locations for investors

The best locations for planning permission approval across the UK have been revealed by new analysis carried out by Townscape Architects.

The findings were based on research into granted and denied applications across the past year. 

The team at the North of England-based architectural practice researched locations across the UK, including London boroughs and National Parks, with the best and worst planning permission approval rates.


The firm has also shared helpful advice on increasing your chances of getting planning permission approved.

Bolsover, a small market town in Derbyshire, was revealed as having the best approval rate of any location in the UK, outside of London, with 98.4% of planning applications approved in the area. 

By contrast, Watford has the lowest approval rate for planning permits, at just 54.1%. The popular commuter town in Hertfordshire sits on the outskirts of London. 

When it comes to UK national parks, the Northumberland National Park has the highest approval rate for planning permission, with a remarkable 100% of applications approved. The caveat to this, though, was that only 28 applications were made in the area. The park, the northernmost national park in England, is home to Hadrian’s Wall.

On the other hand, the Peak District National Park has the lowest rate of approval of any national park with a total of 78.6% of applications being approved. 

Comparing London boroughs, meanwhile, the City of London has the best planning permission approval rate, with 100% of planning applications approved there. It’s a different story in outer London, though, with Croydon having the lowest approval rate in the capital. Just 52.6% of applications were granted in the borough. 

While there are plenty of locations across the UK that have great approval rates, Townscape says that for those properties in areas where planning approval may not be granted as easily, there are steps that can be taken to make the process easier. 

Nick Silcock, director at Townscape Architects, advises: “Planning permission varies across the UK, depending on regulations specified by the local authority overseeing your area. Check the government planning portal and your local government website to reveal any requirements unique to your area.”

He added: “Designated areas such as National Parks (and the areas around them), conservation areas, Areas of Outstanding National Beauty, the Broads, and World Heritage Sites have a host of additional regulations. Permitted development rights, which provide an easier route to property work than planning permission applications, are excluded from these protected areas.”

He explained that listed buildings also have tougher planning permission regulations, with many applications needing to ‘maintain the character and appearance of the property.

Looking for planning approval? Here are the best and worst locations for investors

“When considering applying for planning permission, take a look at other properties on your street. If the extension you’re applying for matches neighbouring properties, there’s a higher chance that it will be approved,” he said.

“Confirming whether your renovation work falls under planning permission, or a permitted development will help with the process. You can easily consult the local authority if you aren’t sure. Permitted developments are more easily approved as the developer only needs to notify the local authority, rather than the local planning authority.”

Silcock explained that securing a Certificate of Lawful Development, proof that the development falls within permitted development rights, is also highly recommended.

“Securing this certificate often takes the same amount of time as planning permission approval, so neither process is quicker,” he went on.

“Larger extensions require neighbour consultation, so keep your neighbours on your side by talking to them ahead of applying for work that may affect them.”

He warned that there are, though, far more limitations with permitted developments, ‘so renovators may be happier with the larger scope that planning permission provides’.

“Whatever you choose to do, ensure the correct permissions are in place, and any relevant regulations are met. Failing to secure planning permission or deviating from plans can result in an order to remove the extension and return the area to its prior condition,” he advised.

“You can retrospectively apply for planning permission, but this is risky, and there’s a high chance work will be rejected. Extensions without planning permission make the property unmortgageable, therefore impossible to sell or re-mortgage.”

He concluded: “Planning permission is also usually valid for just three years, so bear in mind that a property for sale with this feature may quickly lose planning permission or give you a limited amount of time to carry out the work.”


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up