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Planning appeals block £3bn of projects as major schemes plummet

About £3 billion worth of construction work was delayed or stopped by planning appeals in nine months, with residential hitting the most barriers, according to new research.

Meanwhile, major projects valued at over £100m dropped 20 per cent to £7.5bn, with infrastructure schemes falling by half in the year to October, provisional data has shown. The drop in major projects was highlighted by Balfour Beatty during a profit warning a fortnight ago.

Both sets of figures were provided by construction business intelligence unit Glenigan

The planning appeal figures are down by 17 per cent on the same period in 2011. The number of schemes fell 7 per cent from 544 to 494.

The National Planning Policy Framework - aimed at cutting red-tape and issuing a presumption in favour of sustainable development - is likely to have a more positive impact on future numbers.

Glenigan said the “vast majority” of applications going to appeal are residential projects, at 72 per cent of the total number, including both private and social housing, and valued at £1.8 billion.

Infrastructure – which has become the a primary focus for the government in terms of enabling economic growth – saw a five-fold increase of appeals.

That sector has also hit a new post-crisis low in 2012; only £2.1bn of major infrastructure projects began in the year to October compared to £3.8bn in 2010.

Glenigan economist Andrew Whiffin: “The continued slowdown in major projects that we have seen this year is the result of reduced capital budgets across Government departments, uncertainty regarding the PFI scheme and hesitation by the private sector to invest in large and often long term projects.”

Major utilities projects have fared better, at £3.1bn only marginally short of last year’s total of £3.3bn.

In terms of planning, there was more positive news for office developments, where appeals dropped but a third.


No. of AppealsValue of Work (£m)
Sector2011 Q1 to Q32012 Q1 to Q3Change2011 Q1 to Q32012 Q1 to Q3Change
Community & Amenity110-100%8--100%
Hotel & Leisure29317%567533%
Private Housing363327-10%1,9971,721-14%
Social Housing4127-34%721102-86%

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