FEWER developers and homeowners sought planning permission in Barrow during lockdown, as applications fell by nearly half compared to a year ago.

The Home Builders Federation said uncertainty whipped up by the coronavirus pandemic mixed with strict lockdown measures led to an inevitable fall in applications nationally.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows Barrow Borough Council received 53 applications for planning permission between April and June.

That was the lowest number for the quarter since comparable records began in 1996, and a 47% decrease from the same period last year.

In the first three months of 2020, the council received 81 applications.

The figures may include housing, office and retail developments as well as extensions or alterations to existing homes.

Across England as a whole, local authorities received 88,000 planning applications between April and June – down by almost a quarter from 2019.

Andrew Whitaker, planning director at the Home Builders Federation, said the national lockdown period had been tough for developers. “It was inevitable that applications would drop, not least because a lot of builders were forced to furlough staff, but also because of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic,” he added.