Boom in planning applications in north of England

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Planning applications for housing have increased sharply in the north of England, says a new report.

Figures from commercial law firm EMW show that eight of the ten areas in England with the largest increases in planning applications for residential property from 2012 to the start of 2014 were in the North.

Overall, 414,100 planning applications for residential property development were filed in 2013, a four per cent increase on 2012.

Trafford saw a rise of 103 per cent, Halton was up 66 per cent, and Cheshire West & Chester and the Wirral saw applications jump by 66 per cent.

"There has been a dramatic recovery in the residential property sector over the last couple of years, driven in large part by the return of first time buyers to the market following the introduction of the Help To Buy scheme," said Giles Ferin, Head of Planning at EMW. "That development boom has now hit the North.

"The surge in demand has prompted housebuilders to increase the number of new developments they are undertaking, and areas within short commuting distance of big cities like Manchester and Liverpool are hotbeds of activity."

At the other end of the table, areas in the South East, including the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Islington and Havering, make up eight of the ten biggest falls in planning applications for residential property.

"A shortage of available plots and higher land prices in the South may explain why attention is shifting to other parts of the UK, including to those areas north of the Green Belts around London," said Giles Ferrin.