EXCLUSIVE: Research based on government figures confirms that Croydon’s planning department has been out-stripping other south London boroughs in giving permission to property developers – at times by a rate of more than 5 to 1. By STEVEN DOWNES
Research based on government data shows that Croydon Council granted more than five times as many planning permissions in 2020 as neighbouring borough Bromley.
The same work also showed that in 2020, the latest full-year figures available, Croydon’s planners rubber-stamped planning permission to more than four times as many applications as another neighbouring borough, Labour-controlled inner-city Lambeth.
And over the course of the last four years, from 2018 to September 2021, Croydon granted planning permission to a total of 1,279 applications, while in next-door Sutton, just 422 schemes were given a planning green light by their council.
The data, based on official figures from what is now known as the Department for Levelling Up, will go a long way to confirm the views expressed by many residents’ groups that Croydon Council’s planning department has been “soft” on some developers and over-eager to push through sometimes questionable development schemes.
The figures have been made available through research conducted on behalf of Sirius Property Finance.
The data confirms that after several years where Croydon’s planners were granting fewer than 230 schemes with planning permission per year, from 2015 that number rapidly increased to more than 300 per year, and going above 400 in two years.
A peak of 436 planning permissions were granted in 2017 – around four times as many as neighbouring boroughs Bromley (95 applications granted), Sutton (116) and Lambeth (118) in the same period.
Sector analysis by real estate debt advisory specialists Sirius shows that nationally, while the level of new homes being granted planning permission dipped during the first year of the pandemic, this negative trend reversed in 2021 with the third-highest annual total seen since 2007.
The figures show a drop of 10per cent nationally in the number of residential homes granted planning permission in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. Researchers say, “This was the lowest level since 2015 and only the second year on year decrease since 2010.”
In Croydon, the number of permissions fell from 414 in 2019 to 303 in 2020.
Sirius’s national research shows that permissions across the country had rebounded in the first six months of 2021 (to September, the most up to date figures available). In Croydon, 164 schemes had been green-lighted in the first half-year.
Across the whole of London, planning permission has been granted for 60,200 residential units over the last year, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the national total.
The south-east saw the second-highest level, with planning permission granted for 46,500 new residential.
“We’ve seen a sharp increase in the volume of planning applications being granted over the last year, which suggests that there is plenty in the pipeline to satisfy the ongoing need for more housing,” said Nicholas Christofi, managing director of Sirius Property Finance.
Planning has been a key issue with voters ahead of today’s local elections, and was one of the drivers in the campaign to introduce a directly-elected Mayor. Whoever is elected today is likely to have the conduct of the planning department very high, if not at the top, of their to-do list.
Read more: Coulsdon concern as planning’s husband and wife act returns
Read more: Landscape of deceit: director deletes qualification claim
Read more: Developers given free rein from a council with no controls
Read more: Councillors slam Bellway’s ‘sham’ consultation over Lido site
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at email@example.com
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- By having a comment section, we provide all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content. Details of how this works can be read by clicking here
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
- Inside Croydon: 3.3million page views in 2021. Seen by 1.6million unique visitors in that 12-month period