Labour has promised to reform the planning process in their early promises post election, following a fall in the number of planning applications submitted in Oxford in the last decade. 

The number of planning applications submitted in the city has fallen by nearly a quarter over the last decade although there has been a slight increase in the last year. 

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities figures show Oxford council decided on 1,136 planning applications in the year to March – up from 1,062 the year before.

Of these, 975 or 86 per cent were granted, while 161 were refused.

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Across England, councils decided 333,000 planning applications, 12 per cent down on the previous year and the lowest recorded figure in the last decade.

Of these, 285,000 or 86 per cent were granted, meaning both the proportion and total number of accepted applications slumped to a decade-low level.

Speaking to ITV News, Sir Keir Starmer said his first action as Prime Minister will be to reform the planning system.

Labour said it will build 1.5 million new homes over the next parliament by "bulldozing" restrictive planning rules, encouraging councils to build on brownfield sites, and identifying lower quality areas in the green belt for development, termed "grey belt".

Sir Keir said: "We cannot go on with the system as it is. Infrastructure takes years. Housing takes years to build. We’re too slow. We’re too expensive. We’re over budget.

"We cannot go on like that. We have to take the tough decisions to get the country moving."

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the current system is a "barrier to growth", and Labour will "put planning reform at the very centre of our economic and political argument".

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There was a particular focus on housing developments in Labour's manifesto.

It said it would immediately update the National Planning Policy Framework "to undo damaging Conservative changes, including restoring mandatory housing targets".

But across the country, the number of granted planning applications for major residential developments – those which provide at least 10 residential dwellings – has fallen steadily over the last decade.

Last year, granted applications fell by 12 per cent, slumping to the lowest level in a decade.

In Oxford, four were granted last year.

To boost housing development, Labour said it will support local authorities by funding additional planning officers, and "will not be afraid to make full use of intervention powers to build the houses we need".

However, it also pledged to ensure local communities continue to shape house building in their area.