On Tuesday Planning Minister Greg Clark announced the Coalition Government’s latest change to the planning system, a proposed one-off increase to planning fees in order to bring them in line with inflation.
In a written statement to the Commons Mr Clark cited the “shortfall in fee income” which has led to the 15% increase in fees, the first of its kind since 2008.
The adjustment in application fees is aimed at reducing the amount council taxpayers subsidise the planning system and forms part of the Government’s overall aim of “making planning simpler, more accessible and better able to support sustainable development”.
The kicker to the story you ask? With this 15% fee increase the government will expect local authorities to streamline their planning departments and work towards a “planning guarantee”, whereby it takes no longer than 12 months to determine an application.
Local residents, businesses and developers will all be subject to the increased fees, with the impetus being placed on local authorities to match the increased investment with improved service. This underlying theme is highlighted in Mr Clark’s statement:
“The planning application fee is a relatively small component of the costs of any development, but delays by planning departments in the processing of applications can lead to substantial costs for residents and professional developers.”
The other possible downside to the 15% increase is that it may deter smaller businesses from expanding during the on-going economic recession. Unfortunately the impact of this latest change to the planning system can only be truly assessed once it is implemented later this year. However we could see a lot of smaller applications being submitted before autumn comes around.
A list of the current planning fees in England and Wales can be found here.