We are monitoring closely the latest government proposals for changes to Planning fees and policies.
Having already allowed an increase in the privately-run Planning Portal fee for just processing new applications online (now at £64 since May), the DLUHC is suggesting an increase next April of 25% for standard applications and a whopping 35% for major applications. Planning fees will then continue to be increased in line with the Consumer Price Index on 1st April every year (up to a max. 10%).
In addition, the traditional “free go” for applications re-submitted within 12 months - something both clients and Planning Authorities have used successfully to encourage schemes to be withdrawn and re-submitted with improvements - will be scrapped.
The good news for applicants is that the ‘Planning Guarantee’ period, allowing applicants to claim a refund if their application is not decided, will be reduced from 26 to 16 weeks for non-major applications.
On 24 July, DLUHC launched the Planning Skills Delivery Fund (PSDF), which will provide £24m over two years to local authorities to help with clearing backlogs of planning applications and prepare for the implementation of proposed planning reform. This is an opportunity for local authorities to apply for funding for up to £100,000 per local authority, which can be used to hire additional planning officers and other specialist resources. They have also provided £1.59 million funding to the Local Government Association (LGA) to set up and deliver a graduate programme, called Pathways to Planning, that will market a career in planning to a wide and diverse group of graduates. We hope these measures do indeed improve some of the current delays we are experiencing with our projects, and the quality of some of the decision-making.