DWF Planning lawyers
Planning fees set to rise in latest Government reforms PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 13:12

Councils’ planning fees are set to rise for the first time since 2008 under the latest package of measures unveiled by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The DCLG said the fees would be uprated in line with inflation, arguing that this would reduce the burden on taxpayers, “who otherwise end up subsidising developers”. The increase is expected to be around 15%.

The Department also said that details of the approach to be taken for a review of around 6,000 pages of supporting planning guidance would be published “shortly”. This follows publication of the National Planning Policy Framework, which reduced 1,000 pages of policy to just over 50.

Planning Minister Greg Clark also confirmed that proposals on speeding up the process for determining planning appeals – including meeting its suggested 12-month deadline – would be published for consultation “later this year”.

Other measures include:

Clark claimed that the Government’s reforms to the planning system were making it simpler, clearer and more accessible to people in communities.

"Following the simplification of the national planning policy in the National Planning Policy Framework, these proposed changes streamline the process of applying for planning permission,” he said.

"Our aim is to have a system that applicants and members of communities can be confident will give a reliable, swift and fair outcome."

Responding to the DCLG announcement, Cllr Clyde Loakes, Vice Chair of the LGA’s Environment and Housing Board, said: “The proposed reduction in the amount of centrally determined national planning guidance is positive. The Government listened to the LGA argument on planning fees and the proposed 15% increase will provide some important respite to town hall budgets.

“Under the current system, hard-pressed council taxpayers have been subsidising the planning fees of multi-national developers. We will continue to press for an even fairer, more transparent, localised system for planning fees which is evidence based."

Cllr Loakes also described as positive the consultation on planning use-classes, arguing that many councils had been pressing for greater local discretion.

He added: “The majority of planning applications are already processed in quick time so it is important that much greater consideration is given to proposals for a ‘planning guarantee’ before this is taken further, including all the factors that can cause delays and the consequences of externally imposed arbitrary deadlines.”

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