Planning consultant, Anthony Cogan discusses the recent review of how to improve the town planning process.
Here we cover the implications of an overhaul of planning application fees. In a consultation document published 28 February 2023, the Department for Levelling up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) propose a significant uplift in planning application fees.
The aim being to:
- Improve the performance of local planning authorities.
- Building capacity and capability and
- Introducing a more robust performance regime.
How will this affect planning application fees?
It is proposed that planning application fees increase by 35% for major applications and 25% for all other applications. For a major application (10 or more dwellings) the per dwelling fee will increase from £462 to £624 per dwelling.
The consultation document includes a proposal to then link planning fees to rise with inflation. The increases in planning fees, are expected to come into effect in summer 2023.
The increased revenue generated is to be ringfenced, to ensure that these planning fees can only be spent within a local authority planning department, as opposed to the current system where fees can be diverted as part of wider local authority budget priorities.
Additionally, measures include:
- Doubling Planning Application fees for retrospective applications
- Removal of the ability to re-submit a planning application free of charge
- Reduce Planning Guarantee from 26 to 16 weeks (period over which applicants can request fee return)
Planning Director David Jones MRTPI comments:
The proposed increase in planning fees is welcomed. Local Planning Authorities have for many years been struggling attracting suitably experienced staff, coupled with a brain drain to the private sector. The lack of Local Authority resource has led to a degreaded service.
In practice, the application fee paid to the local authority is a small proportion of the total cost to a developer of a planning application. Developers will support fee increases where this is coupled with a demonstrably improved service delivering faster decision making.
Whilst these measures are subject to consultation, it is highly likely to be operable from summer 2023.
About Evans Jones:
Evans Jones is a construction consultancy, with officers in Cheltenham, Reading and London which has been in practice for over 50 years. Evans Jones provides professional consultancy services to the commercial sector in the areas of Town Planning, Construction, Development, Building Consultancy, Disabled Access Consultancy (Equality Act), and legal obligations associated with construction and development.
Clients include: Ashford District Council, HSBC, Travelodge, NFU Mutual, British Airways, UCAS, University of Gloucestershire, Liverpool City Council, NHS Foundation Trust, Clarks Shoes, Bovis Homes, Midcounties Co-Operative, British Waterways, Severn Trent Water, Crest Nicholson, Cheltenham College and Cheltenham Ladies College.