Draft planning fees regulations laid before Parliament

Out-Law News | 23 Jul 2012 | 5:11 pm | 1 min. read

Draft regulations which propose to allow local planning authorities to increase the fees they charge for planning applications have been laid before Parliament, but the cap on the maximum fees that can be charged remains the same.

The draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) Regulations 2012 follow an announcement by the Government of its intention to increase the amount local planning authorities in England can charge for planning application fees by 15%.

For outline planning applications for the building of houses, local planning authorities will be able to charge a fee of up to £385 per 0.1 hectares of land, for sites up to 2.5 hectares in size, under the draft regulations

Where the site exceeds 2.5 hectares, planning authorities could charge £9,527, with an additional £115 charge for each 0.1 hectare in excess of 2.5 hectares. This is subject to a cap of £125,000.

The draft regulations propose a charge of £385 per house for applications which seek consent for a development of 50 houses or fewer. For applications for developments which propose more than 50 homes, the draft regulations propose a fee up to £19,049, with an additional fee of £115 for each house in excess of 50. This is subject to a cap of £250,000.

Under the current regulations, local planning authorities can charge up to £8,285 for outline applications for sites of more than 2.5 hectares in size, plus £100 for each 0.1 hectare in excess of 2.5 hectares up to a maximum of £125,000.

The new proposals do not change the existing caps on the maximum fees that local planning authorities in England can charge for outline and full applications for large residential developments.

Planning application fees for the "enlargement, improvement or other alteration of existing dwellinghouses" could be charged at £172 per house, or at £339 for two or more houses, under the draft plans.

The regulations also propose that planning application fees for deemed applications be paid to the local planning authority in their entirety, rather than half to the local planning authority and half to the Secretary of State, as required by the current regime.

“The proposal to increase fees is welcome, but councils need to make sure that the additional money ensures planning departments are adequately resourced," said Colin Haylock, president of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), in response to the announcement that fees would be raised by 15% "Swift and accurate planning decisions are a crucial element in delivering much-needed growth and the increase in fees by the Government is designed to support this function.".

"Whilst local government faces difficult choices, the Government’s clear intention is that council planning departments should be suitably resourced. Under resourced planning departments are a brake on growth,” Haylock added.