The UK’s Top DIY hotspots for home renovations

From a new floor plan to the construction of a new dwelling, people across the UK have been focusing their energy and attention on their homes over the last 18 months, maximising on spaces in which they can work, play, and relax.

                                                                                    Source: Unsplash. Credit: Milivoj Kuhar


We analysed 331 districts, towns, and cities to reveal the top DIY hotspots across the UK by amalgamating Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government data on Planning Applications from 2020.

Our index also uncovers the easiest and hardest locations to have planning permission approved on your home across the UK.

Whether you are looking to have an extension built or you are looking to invest in a new property for development, our index can provide you with guidance on levels of approval you may be up against.

Most popular locations in the UK for DIY.

We  found that last year 359,013 people applied for planning permission across the UK, with 87% of those applications being approved. This left 46,672 people who were denied their planning permission and were unable to complete their projects.

When it came to sheer volumes of people looking to start construction projects, we found which locations across the UK have the biggest appetite and have been declared as the hotspots for DIY.



Interestingly, Corby, a town in the East Midlands, received the highest number of planning applications in 2020, with 5,377.

Following closely behind is Westminster in London, and Broxtowe in the East Midlands; both having over 5,000 applications in their areas over the 12-month period. West Oxfordshire has also been a popular hotspot for home renovations with 4,207 applicants requesting planning permission to work on their properties.

Locations with the lowest level of planning applications in the UK


Oadby and Wigston, in Leicestershire was found as the location with the lowest appetite for construction projects with only 112 planning applications submitted in 2020.

Eastleigh, a town in Hampshire located in the South East, came in second with only 240 applications that year. Interestingly, much of the East of England came through in the top 15 areas of the UK.

The best locations for property construction approval

Copeland, a district in the Lake district, overseeing areas such as Whitehaven, Sellafield, and Egremont has been found to be the EASIEST place in the UK to get planning permission, for both commercial and residential construction.



With a gleaming 100% grant rate for applications in 2020, every household within both Copeland and the Isles of Scilly could carry out their home conversion, no matter how big or small.

Following closely behind was the City of London, and Bolsover in Chesterfield, just outside Sheffield, both with a 98% grant acceptance rate for planning permission.  Carlisle in the North of England also made the list, coming in 6th with 185 home renovation applications accepted over 2020 which demonstrated a 97% acceptance rate.

The hardest locations for property construction approval

These locations came through as the top places in the UK out of 331 districts for having the lowest approval rate for planning permission applications in 2020, making it the HARDEST place to begin any construction projects.



Barking and Dagenham, in East London, was revealed as the hardest place to get planning permission approved; of the 319 applications in the area in 2020, only 52% of them were approved. 

Unsurprisingly, the densely populated district of Redbridge in London rejected 62% of applications.

Following closely behind was Hillington, found within the district of King’s Lynn in the East of England, which rejected 63% of planning applications leaving  406 people unable to complete any property construction.

Paul McFadyen, Managing Director of metals4U, comments on regional appetites and the best materials to use when carrying out a construction project.

“We are delighted to see so many construction projects being undertaken over the last year and into 2021. We’ve seen a particular uplift in Cardiff with a 63% increase in metal supplies demand in January 2021 compared to the same time last year.

Other locations we’ve seen an increase in demand for supplies have been Peterborough, Hove, and Bristol, all increasing by over 50% in metals purchases such as stainless steel, aluminium, and copper.

One of the most common construction projects for the DIY enthusiast to undertake is conversion of integral garages, attics, and lofts into useable living space. We have seen a marked increase in demand for our steel joists (RSJs) and steel flat which is used for building frames, lintels, and joists in both traditional blockwork construction and within wooden framed and sectional builds. This increase in demand may well indicate that such projects are increasing in popularity.

We have also seen a sharp rise in demand for our sheet profiles; these are widely used to update kitchens, bar-tops, splashbacks, and bathrooms. These are available in brass, copper, aluminium, Corten, and stainless steel, and are supplied in a wide variety of surface finish. The versatility of our products ensures that we can meet the needs of our customers, regardless of budget or their preferred aesthetic.

When it comes to materials, you have to choose carefully for your proposed construction project, so we always advise our customers to invest in the best grades of metal and make sure the physical and chemical properties of their chosen product is the most appropriate for the project".