Why we built our own UK Planning Application Database

I had a meeting with a client at the beginning of the year to talk about obtaining OJEU tenders. I’ve stayed away from them in the past until I realised what other companies are charging for the service and that you can obtain the raw data for free. We’ve since worked our way through the TED database and collected 91,000 tenders of interest which we’re now organising and live tenders will be on HousingNet by the end of this week.

But I digress …. at the meeting we also discussed obtaining data on new build homes. There is data out there, but again, very expensive so we decided the only way to do it properly was to collect and analyse every UK planning application. We built software to manage the processes and have a team of six who enter the information on our system, isolate records based on key words and update every application of interest.

We are particularly interested in New Build, Conversions, Basements, Lofts and Extensions. We collect data on Office 2 Home, HMO’s, Student Housing, S106, Applicants, Agents and Decisions and so far we’ve collected 94,796 applications, added additional data to 8,406 of them and recorded 49,755 new homes.

The data in itself is fascinating: from seeing which Housing Association has the most applications refused to the number of applications relating to different tree types – Oak 54, Beech 24, Conifer 16 and the ever popular Thuja 4.
The stats for February show Broadland District Council accepting applications for 3535 new homes and Cornwall County Council being the busiest with the highest number of accepted (88) and refused (37) applications.

Our priority was new build but the more we looked at the data the more possibilities we found. Living in South London as I do we are surrounded by basement and loft conversions so we started pulling out this data along with ‘extensions’. Companies are currently using this data to look for marketing opportunities in areas where planning applications are more likely to be accepted, agent league tables and reasons for refusal.

We can compare this data to the 13.2M corporate property titles we have and the 4.2M Social Homes we’ve isolated from that data set. We also use House Price/Sale data and Companies House data to help clients understand where opportunities lie.

Tomorrow we’ll be putting the planning search online and making it free to use for a while as we would welcome your feedback.

If you haven’t used HousingNet before it works like this – we collect data faster than we can get it online so clients purchase a licence to access our online data, maps, tables and exports and then if there is any combination of data or analysis they can’t export from the site we offer a 24 hour turnaround to deliver any bespoke data set free of charge.

HousingNet development is driven by our client’s requests, if you want it we’ll do our best to get it and deliver it in the format you need. View our data packages here.

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