Tunbridge Wells council disputes survey suggesting that planning approvals have shot up

Grosvenor Bridge Tunbridge Wells

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has rejected figures reported in the national press last month claiming there had been an 82 per cent rise the number of planning applications accepted last year.

The disputed figure was quoted in an article by the Daily Mail on June 4, in which they cited research by commercial law firm EMW showing the growth in successful planning applications in towns surrounding London far exceeded that of the capital itself.

Research by the firm claimed Tunbridge Wells had the second highest number of successful applications out of the towns they surveyed in 2015, behind Swindon on 111 per cent.

Reasons behind the surge in applications are unaffordable London house prices pushing residents out and an increasing willingness for commuters to make ever longer journeys to work, the report said.

But a spokesman for the council said they ‘do not recognise’ the figure quoted, adding: “No matter how we crunch the numbers we can’t make an 82 per cent increase.”

Instead, data released by the council for the Times revealed the total number of applications granted rose from 1,092 to 1,487 between 2014 and 2015 – a rise of 36 per cent.

Out of all the 1,663 applications submitted, 89 per cent were given the green light.

Of these, 31 were deemed ‘major’ applications – classed as a development of ten or more residential units or 1,000 sqm of commercial floor space.

In addition, a total of 368 were classed as ‘minor’ – a development between one and nine residential units – while the rest were classed as ‘other’, making up the remaining 1,088 applications which were given the go ahead.

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