Money Well Spent?
Something which is not going to help those ‘January Blues’ is the confirmation just before Christmas that planning application fees are due increase by 20% on 17th January. This fee increase was made into law on 20th December 2017 and will come into force in less than 2 weeks.
The fee increase applies to all planning applications, and any applications which are not validated by the 17th January will also be subject to the fee increase.
The intention of the government to increase planning application fees for those authorities who committed to invest the additional fees in improving the productivity of planning departments was first consulted on in Autumn 2017 and was widely supported by developers, housebuilders and other stakeholders on the proviso that improvements would be seen in the planning system.
Therefore, the introduction of this fee increase follows all local planning authorities applying to the Secretary of State to introduce the increase on the evidence that the additional income would be spent on the planning service within the Authority.
Currently, it is the case that planning fees alone do not cover the cost of considering and determining a planning application, with it often being the case that minor applications are time intensive. Planning authorities are subsidised by other taxes, however recent cuts have seen a negative impact upon funding for planning services across the UK.
It remains to be seen whether or not the fee increase will see additional funding spent on planning services across the country and the impact this will have upon the planning system. Whether or not the increased fees will bring increased resources and result in marked improvements in the decision-making process in terms of greater consistency and in a timely manner will become evident in the coming months.
However, radical improvements in the processing and determination of applications should not be expected imminently… only time will tell of the impact of these fee increases.
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