The government has revealed proposals to allow local authorities to charge what they want for handling planning applications
Research for the government carried out by Arup indicated that the current fixed planning fees caused councils to undercharge for their planning services.
As a result services had to be subsidised by council tax payers, the report claims.
Under new proposals which are currently out to consultation councils will determine their own fee levels but will be unable to charge more than the planning service’s actual cost or make a profit.
Greg Clark, decentralisation minister, said: ‘Letting councils set their own fees is a much fairer system for both the applicant and the local taxpayer and will ensure there is flexibility in the system to recover the actual costs of applications.’
The changes could come into effect from April 2011 with councils given six months from that date to publish their new fees.