The Government has announced that from Autumn 2012 there will be a 15% increase in planning application fees.
This means the fee for a single dwelling will increase by £50 from £335 to £385. There hasn’t been a fee increase since 2008 so the recent announcement will increase fees in line with inflation. Although the 15% increase will add £50 to a fee for a single dwelling, the announcement is a bit of a u-turn for the Coalition Government. This is because the Government had consulted on plans to decentralise fee setting almost two years ago. If fee setting by Local Planning Authorities had gone ahead then it may have resulted in increases of over 200%.
The Ministerial Statement on the matter confirms that the announcement on fees will be brought in alongside a number of proposed changes including:
- A clearer requirement for information submitted with an application to be reliable. Greg Clark MP stated, “To reinforce this point I will amend the declaration on the standard application form so that applicants are asked to confirm that the information provided is, to the best of their knowledge, truthful and accurate.” This will be ‘backed-up’ by amendments to the appeal costs Circular to make it clear that appellants may be at risk of having costs awarded against them if the evidence on which they have based their appeal is found to be manifestly untrue. The Costs Circular is also proposed to be amended to deal with any specific unreasonable action of a statutory consultee;
- The Government has reaffirmed its commitment to a ‘Planinng Guarantee’ of a decision within 12 months (including allowance of time for an appeal). It will review the performance of Councils and the Planning Inspectorate in this respect;
- There are also plans to streamline the information requirements for planning applications, and;
- The Government is also looking at ways to assist with the reuse of existing buildings. These are new ideas after the Government decided not to implement measures to make it permitted development to change from offices (use class B1) to Dwellings (use class C3) – yet another u-turn?!
It remains to be seen if any of the consultations will make it into legislation, but we will keep you updated. For further details please contact Mark Godson.