Looming Increase in Planning Application Fees
More news on the Government’s housing white paper. In a time of squeezed budgets, the Government will be taking ‘steps to secure the financial sustainability of planning departments’. This sounds positive until it becomes clear councils will be able to increase their fees by up to 20% from July if they reinvest this into their planning departments.
This may only add up to tens of pounds for a householder applying for an extension, but the effect on developers could be significant, and delay applications when the Government is trying to speed up the process.
It gets worse for developers: if a council is meeting its housing targets, it may be allowed to increase fees by another 20%. Around two thirds of councils plan to meet the projected growth of their areas, so it could be more expensive to build in these areas, which could discourage building.
According to a consultation document published with the white paper, ‘the majority of respondents...support increasing fees... citing concerns about resourcing’ in planning departments. Raising planning fees may help councils provide a better service, but possibly at the expense of reduced supply and quality in the finished built product (which is already a problem with volume-built housing). Is this really what the Government wants?