The number of planning applications submitted to Local Authorities has increased by almost 20% from February to March 2009.

According to Barbour ABI data, planning application numbers are showing signs of recovery, with a quarterly rise of over 3.7% over the fourth quarter of 2008.

Barbour ABI research director, Adam Valentine, said: “Although it’s worth remarking that application numbers are still significantly down on this time last year, we’re able to see a noticeable increase in the number of applications submitted in the first quarter of this year.

“It’s possible that some of this increase can be attributed to seasonal variation in application numbers, but March 2008 saw a decrease in applications over the previous month rather than the increase we’ve seen in March 2009.”

Valentine also suggested that next month’s data would offer a “clearer indication” of confidence returning to future planned work in the construction sector.