Almost two million planning objections raises since 2017

Some 1.9 million people have complained about planning permission applications since the start of 2017, with South Lanarkshire in Scotland registered the highest number of complaints for a single planning application.

Overall every planning application receives 2.2 objections on average and there were 870,000 applications across the UK in 2017, according to the new research from Churchill Home Insurance.

Objectors, commonly known as NIMBYs (Not in My Back Yard) are those who are opposed to an organisation, building or project being developed too close to where they live. With so many complaints across the UK, this works out at around 80 objections having been raised every hour over the past three years by NIMBYs.

As home owners opt to expand their homes and towns and cities develop amenities to cope with ever changing needs, planning departments across the country are being inundated with 893 application forms every day, which is 37 per hour.

These applications include building new homes, hotels, hospitals, car parks, wind turbines, creating landfill sites and waste industries as well as extensions to existing properties. On average, each planning application receives 2.2 objections.

Further research reveals the issues that Britons feel they are in their rights to object to. Private rights of access at 51% was the most commonly cited reason, with loss of view and land and boundary disputes coming an equal second, both at 50%. Negative impact on property value accounted for 43% and the impact of construction works was 39%.

‘The environment in which we live is constantly evolving. Whether it be homes needing to expand for growing families or changes to towns and cities to cope with demands, planning permission is at the forefront of it all,’ said Craig Rixon, head of Churchill home insurance.

‘Although many new developments like hospitals and car parks are used by most of society, it is understandable that people would not want them to be situated close to their home. Not everyone can afford to or wants to move, so often we are left with no choice but to complain about the unwanted facility,’ he pointed out.

Regionally, the East of England has the highest number of planning applications per 1,000 residents, with 19.3 applications per 1,000 over the last three years. This is closely followed by Northern Ireland at 18.7 per 1,000 and the South East at 18.1 per 1,000.

London has received the highest number of objections, with 482,000 raised since 2017, some 26% of all objections noted. Overall, 55 objections have been raised in the capital since the start of 2017 for every 1,000 people living there.

The South East comes a close second with 441,000 objections raised or 49 per 1,000, followed by the South West at 200,000, or 39 per 1,000 and the East of England at 170,000, or 28 per 1,000.

South Lanarkshire Council in Scotland has received the highest number of complaints for a single planning application in the past three years. This occurred in 2017 when 7,080 people registered their objections for the Hamilton incinerator, which was commissioned in 2013.

Despite 54% of adults believing councils do not take enough account of residents’ objections when determining planning approvals, the project was eventually abandoned in June 2019 following one in every 45 people living in the area complaining about it.

Other areas where a high volume of objections have been registered for a single planning application include Newcastle-upon-Tyne at 3,937, Swale at 3,734 and Aberdeenshire at 3,004.