We are living in strange times and many commentators are speculating on economic activity post the lock down. However, amidst the headlines I was pleased to read that the submission of planning applications (perhaps the most timely barometer of the construction sector) have held up in March, with only a small dip relative to February and the same period in 2019 (both just 3.5% down). The Planning Portal reported: ‘Looking more closely we can see that the two biggest planning application types by volume (householder and full applications) largely followed the overall trend’ … … ‘However it is worth highlighting a couple of other types with noticeable differences:
Advertising consents seem to have been affected more than most with a drop of 14%
Prior approvals and telecoms increased by 56%
Outline applications were up 12 per cent perhaps a good indication that the pipeline for major schemes remains strong.
Change of use conversions to residential units increased across the board, where as change of use from retail to other purposes was down.’
The above certainly seems to reinforce my own view that certain sectors (including advertising and marketing) are going to take time to gain traction again. Chapman Lily has been advocating making full use of Permitted Development Rights for some time and in the current economic climate the ability to move quickly and decisively is even more important. We’ve been helping a number of businesses diversify through the use of Schedule 2, Part 3 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015, as amended. Contact us if you would like to know more. Perhaps best of all is the news on outline applications, as these really to represent the hopes and aspirations on many – tomorrows housing supply. With many in the retail sector out of operation I am not surprised yo see a slow down in residential conversions, but expect a surge when the estate teams get back behind their desks as some of the big names look to raise capital.
For our part, we are still keeping busy and are very grateful to our resilient client base who are quick to adapt and find new opportunities.