The number of major commercial planning applications decided by councils last year fell below the previous low following the global financial crisis of 2008
Figures released by the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government showed that 2,051 major commercial schemes were decided during 2017/18 by district-level authorities.
This is down even on the low of 2009/10 in the wake of the financial crash, when 2,109 got the go-ahead.
However, at 1,930, the number of major commercial schemes actually given the go-ahead last year was higher than the 1,879 given consent in 2009/10, due to a higher rate of approvals (94 per cent versus 89 per cent).
During the fourth quarter of the last financial year, the number of major schemes approved dropped 8.9 per cent compared with the same quarter the previous year.
Overall, 9,900 applications for commercial developments (including minor ones) were down 11 per cent to 9,900 on the year ending March 2017.
District-level planning authorities granted 49,100 applications for residential developments during 2017/18, down 2 per cent on the previous year.
However, supplemented with statistics on housing permissions from a contractor, the government said that the total number of homes granted permission during the last financial year was 347,000.
This was up 11 per cent on the previous financial year, but down 2 per cent on the rolling year to December 2017.
Figures for the quarter between January and March 2018 showed district-level councils received 116,700 applications for developments in all categories, down 5 per cent on the corresponding quarter last year.