Commercial development applications fell by 11% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, statistics from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government found.
During January to March 2018, authorities undertaking district level planning in England granted 9,900 applications for commercial developments.
Mark Dyason, managing director of the property finance broker, Thistle Finance, said: “Uncertainty around Brexit is clearly causing many businesses to sit on their hands rather than invest in and develop new premises, which creates additional exposure. It’s unfortunate that applications overall are being processed at the same speed as a year ago.
“There’s an urgency in the market and in government to build more homes but that’s clearly not feeding through into planning departments. Far too many planning departments continue to operate in a vacuum.
“It’s slightly surprising to see the number of permitted development rights applications has fallen compared to the same quarter last year, as that’s an area where we’re seeing a huge amount of activity, especially outside the capital.
“The residential development market outside London is more active than it has ever been, in part because of the higher returns available and in part because of the availability of finance.”