Bedford Borough in last place for planning permission responses


Research by a home insurer has placed Bedford Borough in last place when it comes to gaining planning permission for home renovations.

But the Borough Council said it doesn’t recognise the report’s figures and is “well ahead” of government targets.

The insurance company, Homeprotect, said its research covering 2013 to 2023 puts Bedford Borough Council in 308th place (out of 308).

The report said just 25 per cent of 1,373 planning permission applications submitted to the Borough Council were decided within eight weeks, with only 59 per cent approved at all.

David Joyson, chief customer officer at Homeprotect, said: “With the UK currently facing a cost-of-living crisis, renovating rather than moving might be the best solution for many.

“Yet, as the study reveals, this may not be so easy for some due to lengthy delays or outright planning permission refusals.”

However, the borough council said it is not aware of this report, and it does not recognise the figures quoted.

Homeprotect's Hardest Places to Renovate in the UK table. Via: LDRS
Homeprotect’s Hardest Places to Renovate in the UK table. Via: LDRS

A council spokesperson said: “The eight-week timeframe referred to has an associated government target for 70 per cent of minor applications to be determined within that period.

“However, that eight-week period is open to extension if both the applicant and the council agree.

“This could be for a number of reasons, including, for example, a request for the applicant to provide further information in order to avoid the refusal of their application.

“The council’s performance on this measure in 2023/24 was 88 per cent, well ahead of the government’s 70 per cent target,” they said.

Homeprotect said it ranked planning authorities by how quickly they made planning permission decisions, and separately by how likely they were to approve planning permission requests.

It then combined these rankings to work out which councils had the best blend of both speed and likeliness of approval when it comes to planning permission applications.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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