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Councils’ 20 per cent fees hike ‘must be reinvested in planning services’

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The RIBA has demanded that extra cash generated by a rise in planning fees must be spent on improving services

The government confirmed just before Christmas that councils and other relevant authorities could raise their charges for dealing with planning applications by 20 per cent from today (17 January).

This could see a raft of fees raised, according to consultancy Planning Potential, with the charge for an application for a small residential development potentially jumping from £385 to £462 per 0.1ha. 

A RIBA spokesperson said: ‘There is a huge shortage of resources in local planning departments so we understand the appeal of raising fees. However, this cannot be a substitute for proper funding and it is vital that any additional revenues raised are reinvested in planning services.’

Dominic McKenzie, of London-based Dominic McKenzie Architects, described the fee hike as ‘reasonable’.

‘The cost for making planning applications is a relatively small part of the overall cost of building,’ he said.

‘While 20 per cent is way above inflation, the existing planning fees are pretty good value at the moment and haven’t been increased for a while.’

A notice from the Department for Communities and Local Government in late December said: ‘Regulations to introduce the 20 per cent increase in planning fees were made on 20 December 2017, which means that local planning authorities will be able to start applying the fee increase from 17 January 2018.’

The regulations also introduced a fee of £402 per 0.1 hectare for ‘permission in principle’ applications; allow local authorities to charge for applications for planning permission following the removal of permitted development rights through Article 4 directions or by condition; and permit mayoral and urban development corporations to charge for providing a pre-application service. They also introduce a fee of £96 for prior approval applications to certain permitted development rights that were introduced in April 2015 and April 2017.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • MacKenzie Architects

    If the Planners stuck to spending only the manhours on the application that the Planning fee covered, we would get much quicker -and I would say better- decisions made for the benefit of everyone. Save a fortune in council costs too.
    -and you would stick to the 8 week original target and expend a lot less hot air.
    Give all the consultancy bodies and neighbours 2 weeks to comment and if they can't get their act together for objective comments, then they are ignored.
    Only applications which propose a change to the strategic plan, get an extra 4 weeks consideration.
    Central Govt. to start an incentive scheme for those councils that meet the (approvals) targets.

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