Are you in a NIMBY area? Heat map highlights opposition to new development

Research by Stack Data Strategy has revealed Essex as the most anti-development county in England, with Uttlesford, Maldon, Brentwood and Rochford among the 10 local authority areas where people are shown to be least supportive of new development overall.

New development covers new private family housing, social housing, blocks of flats, commercial real estate such as new shopping facilities and also residential care homes.

Based on polling of more than 15,000 adults nationally on their views about various types of new development within 0.5 miles of where they live, the polling also found that Gloucestershire and Cornwall have some of the most anti-development NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) residents in England, with residents in Forest of Dean and Isle of Scilly also polling in the top 10 most anti-development local authority areas in England.

On the other hand, the data also shows Inner London as the most pro-development area in England, with residents in Hackney polling as the local authority area most in favour of new development. Outside of London, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Nottinghamshire are the counties with some of the most pro-development residents.

The results can be viewed on the interractive heat map below. The scores are calculated from a number of 0-10 scale questions capturing support and opposition to a number of different types of development, and the likelihood that someone says they will object to a development, within various distances of their home.

Click image to view interractively




With property developers and planners needing to find ways to win over local opinion in these areas, the polling uncovered the top four most effective arguments for persuading even the most anti-development residents to support new developments in their immediate area.

  • Jobs will be created in the local area;
  • New developments will give future generations a chance at affordable home ownership and renting;
  • Attracting investment in local services and facilities;
  • Improving local safety through better street lighting and walking routes.

Kieran Kumaria, Managing Director at Stack Data Strategy, said: “Planning is partly political, and the process is often dominated by vocal minorities with the time and inclination to noisily engage. This research gives voice to the potentially supportive majority.

“Winning support for new development is possible everywhere, if it addresses what people want in their local area and if it’s explained in terms that people understand. If we’re going to get building again, we need to understand what the supportive majority think, want and worry about.”

Stack polled more than 15,000 adults across Great Britain between November 2023 and January 2024.  Full data tables are available here.


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  1. northernlandlord

    NIMBY is unfairly banded about as a term of abuse. People who brand other people as NIMBYS are more than likely those not currently affected by any planning proposal. We all want more homes it’s just that given the choice we don’t want them to spring up round us, especially if building on Green Belt is involved. Would any of us want a new estate springing up at the bottom of our garden spoiling our view?
    We are constantly told more land is needed for building yet around 40% of land with planning permission never gets built on. So this land should be built on first before anymore is released. The problem is that Governments and Local Councils don’t build houses, that is left to property developers who are profit motivated. They pick and choose, building the types of homes they want to build, where they want to build them to maximise profit. They don’t really want to build affordable houses or fund any infrastructure their new developments need, why would they? They are not philanthropists, they are business people, they sell homes for maximum profit and drip feed the market to keep prices high.
    Government and Councils need to step up to the plate on this issue.

    1. MLB

      Developers don’t pick and choose what they build. The local planning department tells them what type of houses the area needs. If the sole aim was to maximise profit they would only build smaller houses as the £ per square foot is higher. Developers generally provide the money for infrastructure. In my area two developers have provided land and funds for a school but the local authority has decided not to build them. New dentists/doctor’s surgeries are not a requirement of new developments according to the NPPF and in any case there are not enough GPs or dentists to occupy them. My local NHS dentist lost 2 dentists over a year ago and still can’t replace them. New developments must have 30% affordable housing unless they can produce a viability study to show that amount is not feasible. Generally that will be linked to remediation costs prior to building so using brownfield sites which cost more to remediate will lead to less social housing. Until it becomes more profitable to farm than to sell to a developer landowners will continue to sell off arable land

  2. Richard Copus

    2 of the 4 so-called positive points above are almost guaranteed to have the opposite effect in rural counties:

    1. “New developments will give future generations a chance at affordable home ownership and renting”. With most people in rural and semi-rural towns and villages seeing nothing much more than 4 bed, detached executive homes being built, even the least cynical person would take this statement with a pinch of salt.

    2. “Improving local safety through better street lighting and walking routes”. Most people living in country towns and villages like the lower levels of street lighting, or lack of it and there are increasing complaints in many places about the intensity of the latest generation of lighting. The network of walking routes is already there across the fields and by-ways!

    We need to engage people living in the countryside in these data strategies for them to have any meaningful effect.

  3. CountryLass

    Technically, I suppose I am a NIMBY. We have three new developments within about a mile of my home. One of them I have no issues with, its a section of land that has been empty for as long as I can remember, and the access with the roads is acceptable. The other is a bit more of an issue access wise, and it has just been left a s a nature area (unofficially, but trees, shrubs and wildlife etc) so it’s not the greatest choice, but I can see why they’ve done it. The one I have the biggest issue with however, is the one closest to me. It was Green Belt and used constantly as food-growing farmland, and served as a barrier to an official nature reserve, and had a history of bats and skylarks being spotted using it. It also provided drainage in the winter storms to stop the roads flooding, and the two access roads are coming out onto a known accident hotspot…

    And yet the abandoned shops in the town centre have been torn down to provide more ‘green space and plants’. Old warehouses are standing empty and falling to pieces when they could be regenerated as city centre apartments with private parking. But, that isn’t as profitable, so…

    1. CSM

      You are right in what you say, bringing brown field sites back into use – it takes more time and is more costly than clean green ones. In theory there are some tax breaks for those that do but they are not as generous as they sound and make no sense, for example land remediation relief is available for taking contaminated soil away from site and its disposal , but not available on the cost of replacing the soil with new soil or importing it back onto site and making good the land. The legislation is clear any works following the removal /control of contamination / harmful substances on site is for the developers to absorb. So a site with no such issues will always win out.
      If government was truly committed surely it would make sense to give developers of such sites a break, then they would be all over it. Similarly redevelopment of old industrial warehousing/ offices into flats is perfectly possible but retro fitting to current /different safety standards costs more than incorporation from scratch. Knocking down old buildings is bad for the carbon footprint and contributes to global warming something our current government is keen to trumpet we are world leaders in avoiding ………….. surely if we really were, someone would have at least seriously looked at this and come up with a policy to bring more brownfield sites into use . Our whole housing policy is a mess.


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