Pickles dismisses 90% of housing applications ahead of poll

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

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Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), has dismissed 18 out of 20 housing applications in the first months of 2015, according to the latest data collated by leading commercial property adviser Bilfinger GVA.

Since the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in March 2012, the Secretary of State (SoS) has asked to determine 95 applications of which 56 were allowed (59%) and 39 dismissed (41%). Of plans for 35,683 dwellings considered by the Secretary of State since the NPPF was introduced, he allowed 21,390 dwellings (60%) and dismissed 14,293 dwellings (40%). However, of 20 SoS decisions in first three months of 2015 only two were allowed with the other 18 dismissed, meaning 46% of all SoS dismissals since the publication of the NPPF (31 months) were in the first three months of 2015.

Of 9,655 dwellings considered by SoS in first three months of 2015, 454 dwellings allowed (5%) and plans for 9,201 dwellings were dismissed (95%). Of the 18 SoS dismissals in 2015, six (33%) were recommended to be allowed by PINS (Inspectors would have allowed 1,569 dwellings that the SoS overturned).

The stark shift in the number of dismissed applications in 2015 has led to calls of party political bias as the Conservative Mr Pickles is accused of quashing applications in key marginal ahead of the election. However, some developers have spoken up to say that these decisions are typically rejected or shelved in the months leading up to a General Election and that it is prudent to plan for the political uncertainty at these times.

For information contact Neil Morton in Bilfinger GVA’s Planning, Regeneration and Development team on 0191 269 0528 or email