Am I in a Development Hotspot?

DateOct 20, 2015

Brighton, Bournemouth and Cambridge show highest density of development outside London. North London has the most developments in UK

Outside of London, the cities of Brighton and Hove, Bournemouth and Cambridge have the most property development activity by area, based on new research1 announced today by Groundsure (illustrated in new Groundsure online interactive map).

The research, based on sales of mapping used in the planning process2, broadly reflects official statistics of planning applications from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), but comes ahead of the official figures for quarter one, which are due in June.

Ranking UK local authorities by density of development, Groundsure found the City of Brighton and Hove to currently be the most active local authority in terms of development outside of the capital. In 2014 however, Brighton and Hove had 26.5 planning applications per square kilometre and came third in terms of density of UK property developments. The City came behind both Cambridge (top ranking, with 30.6) and Oxford (second most developments, with 27.6 applications per square kilometre).

In London, north of the river leads the way, with most developments taking place in Kensington and Chelsea (first in ranking), the City of London (second), City of Westminster (third), Islington (fourth) and Camden (fifth in the national ranking for most developments per square kilometre).

Today’s development research follows last week’s Political Party Manifesto announcements, which put house building as a priority issue in the pre-election battleground. The Conservatives announced their right to buy extension for housing association tenants, whilst the Labour party promised to build at least 200,000 new homes per year by 2020 with a priority for first time buyers.

In addition to current planning activity, Groundsure also investigated areas of potential future development by analysing mapping viewed on their systems, but not yet purchased (maps which are required for planning applications). The top three most viewed mapping areas (outside of London in order of volume) are Brighton (top), Worcester (second) and Worthing (third), followed by Cambridge, North Tyneside and Bournemouth, which are likely to be the next development hotspots.

Dan Montagnani, managing director of Groundsure said:

“London was clearly going to have most developments underway, but we were surprised to find that, outside of London, Bournemouth is the second most active area for developments in the UK. Alongside Brighton this shows a clear demand for property on the south coast.”

Montagnani added: “With the current government target of increasing the supply of housing to 240,000 additional homes per year by 2016, it’s good to see that this already active sector is likely to experience further growth after the next election. Provided the parties keep their promises.”

Groundsure created this report using its sales data of Ordnance Survey MasterMap® digital mapping. Further details can be seen on Groundsure’s new interactive map at

Groundsure provides a range of environmental data reports for solicitors, homebuyers, businesses, consultants, surveyors and lenders to make informed property-transaction decisions. For more information visit


1Data taken from more than recorded sales of Ordnance Survey MasterMap®, which is mandatory for all UK planning applications. Groundsure is a provider of this product in the UK. 

2 Figures taken from live tables for statistics on planning applications at national and local planning authority level, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government – covering all of 2014, released March 2015.

Table showing top 25 most active local authorities in UK showing highest density of property developments:

1Kensington and Chelsea
2City of London
3City of Westminster
7Hammersmith and Fulham
8Tower Hamlets
16Waltham Forest
17The City of Brighton and Hove
21Richmond upon Thames

About Groundsure (

Groundsure is the UK authority on environmental risks like land contamination, flooding and ground stability. Their expert consultancy and unmatched data quality provide the most reliable, accurate information and guidance to support property transaction decision-making.

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Ami Sibbick / Vicki Hughes

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