The Planning Portal have proposed a number of changes to their Financial Transaction Service to address concerns over disproportionate fees.
Following on from the launch of the Planning Portal’s Financial Transaction Service on 10 September 2018, there have been ongoing reviews to ensure that the service has been working well. As part of this review it was found that the main area of concern is the service charge being disproportionate for smaller fees. The Planning Portal have sought to address this by introducing the following changes:
With effect from 1 August 2019, alongside all free applications, all applications where the fee is less than £60 will not incur a service charge for submissions through the Planning Portal. This means that applications for the discharge of conditions and non-material amendments for Householder Planning Permission will no longer have to pay the service charge.
From 1 August 2019, the service charge that will be payable in addition to all planning application fees will be £20.83 plus VAT. The increase in the service charge is designed to balance the cost of the Planning Portal processing the transactions, without limiting the ability to deliver improvements to the submission service.
The option to nominate someone else to make the payment will also be expanded. At the time of writing, third parties could only be nominated to pay for applications online by card. From 1 August 2019, this option will be available across all payment types.
It has also been announced that in Autumn 2019, the prior notification forms, currently only available as PDFs, will be made available to complete on the Planning Portal. Although no date has been provided, as of yet, as to when this service will come into effect.
Mark Campbell, Principal Planner at Evans Jones comments: “Since the introduction of the admin fee it has been obvious that those developments that attract small planning application fees have been paying a disproportionately large admin fee. It is good news that the Planning Portal are rectifying this, but I would suspect further changes to come in the future including some form of scaled admin fee. It is also good news that prior approval application will soon be able to be completed via the portal.”
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