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Councils to set own planning fees

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.

Readers' comments (2)

  • So inefficient councils who are in a monopoly situation wasting quantities of Council Tax payers' money on futile and inappropriate opposition to development can pass those costs on to applicants. Does this pass any test of fairness? No.
    If Councils are able to set their own fees this should be on the basis of a cap linked to average actual costs around the country for dealing with specific types of application - cap say average +10%, with increasing penalties for councils who lose a disproportionate number of appeals.
    Any new system should be primarily geared to increased efficiency, fairness and reasonableness; there's precious little of any of these in my local authority.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • John Kellett

    When many Local Authorities do not have RTPI qualified case officers and even fewer have conservation officers with architectural or planning qualifications it should be difficult to justify.
    Every applicant should expect every submission to be dealt with by a fully qualified town-planner.
    Will architects, and their clients, be permitted to counter-charge for incompetence and time wasted on matters that are not town-planning matters?
    Will "agents" be vetted such that application submitted by RIBA / TRPI / CIAT / RICS / ARB professionals are 'fast-tracked' for a lower fee?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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