The NPPF starts to bite

    Planning Application fees to increase

    A one-off increase in application fees in England has been announced by Government. This will amount to around 15 % on average, the first time they have gone up since 2008.

    New fee regulations will be needed to make this change come into force. However, as yet, the exact date for these is uncertain. Since the necessary legislation is unlikely to be published until after the parliamentary summer recess, they are unlikely to take effect until the  Autumn at the earliest.

    Justifying the increase, decentralisation Minister Greg Clark said in a Written Statement that ; “ The planning application fee is a relatively small component of the costs of any development ...most councils are experiencing a shortfall in fee income, which is failing to meet the costs of deciding planning applications, which, in turn, has to be subsidised by ordinary taxpayers...”.

    The announcement stops short though of previous proposals that would have allowed councils to set fees locally. A consultation on this was launched in November 2010, with the aim of ensuring that planning authorities covered their costs. This recent announcement of an across the board nationwide fee hike suggests that this more flexible approach has been put on the back burner for now.

    Any significant increase, however, inevitably places a greater burden on the costs of development, when margins are already tight. Also, council planning departments should not be a brake on development .This is more likely to happen if they are under resourced. Reductions in staff numbers due to cut-backs have had twin effects in terms of capacity and available skills. So, it is hoped that the money raised via the increase is directed back into delivering enhanced services, and the effects monitored.

     
     

    Key contacts

    David Henry

    David Henry

    Director
    Planning

    Savills Cambridge

    +44 (0) 1223 347 253

    +44 (0) 1223 347 253

     
     

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