min read

Our new research reveals impact of planning permission roadblocks

SearchLand has recently commissioned an independent survey of more than 500 UK-based property investors. The research uncovers just how common planning issues are, and the serious problems they cause.

Published on
December 6, 2021

At SearchLand, we are driven by a passion to turn trusted data into competitive advantage – that is why we have automated the site sourcing process, delivering value to property developers, architects and investors on the hunt for their next project. 

One of the key strengths of our platforms is the way we allow users to establish the viability of a site based on planning permission, whether that is Permitted Development Rights (PDRs) (read more about our new PDR search feature) or planning permission data for the surrounding area. This insight is a must-have – planning permission, or the failure to obtain it, is a nightmare scenario for developers and investors. 

In fact, SearchLand has recently commissioned an independent survey of more than 500 UK-based property investors, all of whom own two or more residential investment properties in the country. The research, which has recently been featured in the FT and The Times, uncovers just how common planning issues are, and the serious problems they cause.

Our research found that a quarter (25%) of investors have bought a property in the past with a view to carrying out an extension or conversion only to be denied planning permission to do so. Moreover, two in five (40%) told us that the viability of obtaining planning permission is a major stumbling block when searching for a property investment. 

These are stark numbers, highlighting how prevalent planning headaches are. And the insights are also particularly timely, with the Government seemingly chopping and changing its plans regarding its own manifesto pledge to bring about radical planning reform.

Cutting through red tape

Our own data shows that 24% of applications for new-build residential schemes of one or more units were refused over the last five years, further highlighting the severe implications of the current refusal rate. 

By making data transparent, at SearchLand we help investors and developers overcome these roadblocks. Our site sourcing solution provides users with the information they need to be able to identify unviable sites before they go as far as a submission. In short, we lower the risks associated with planning obstacles. 

Positively, returning to our research, we found that real estate is high up the agenda for UK investors, with almost half (44%) intending to invest in more properties or plots of land over the next 12 months.

The study also highlighted an interesting trend within the real estate sector, with over two fifths of investors (44%) looking to potentially convert commercial properties into residential premises. With remote working patterns on the rise, clearly a growing number of investors are seeing new opportunities in the market to repurpose empty commercial buildings or vacant offices into residential properties. 

We have talked in recent blogs about PDRs and how they can be a means of bypassing planning permission for certain projects. In fact, as noted above, we built our newly-launched permitted development search tool to empower our users to identify (in seconds) viable sites that can be developed on without having to go through the entire planning application process.

As evidenced by our research, property investors are seeing their strategies falter as a result of planning permission rejections, and we remain committed to helping our users harness the power of data to mitigate the impact of these roadblocks. 

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