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Application fees increasing by 15% on 22 November

by on November 14, 2012

DCLG has written to Chief Planning Officers today to announce that there will be a 15% increase to planning application fees in England commencing on 22nd November 2012.

This will apply to all applications.

We are currently making the changes to the Portal fee calculator to be ready for the change.

In Wales, existing fees will apply.

DCLG has released a PDF of the letter sent to LPAs covering the fee increase. You can download it here.

  1. Simon Evans permalink

    Whaddya know?

    Admittedly it is a while since fees last increased (2008) but they went up a whopping 23%. Now another 15%. Taken together, that’s over 40% compound in about four years. Like fuel, a well above inflation hike.

    Doubtless may will argue that fees are artificially low and that we need to have big increases to get them closer to realistic. However, personally I would find it much more acceptable if:

    a) they applied much less frequently (by truly effective means of reducing the number of applications that need to be made); and,

    b) getting a better service (faster, more efficient, more respectful, etc).

    But as Harry Hill is fond of saying, what are the chances of that happening?

  2. clive davison permalink

    Is the increase to pay for the frenetic activity that accompanies your blogs and that will eventually lead to the privatisation of the service?????????????

  3. Well a bit short notice for client advice purposes but then more than for the major changes in Oct 2008! Still cheap really though for officer’s time involved

  4. The price increase is probably to cover the time they spend “validating” our applications !

  5. So Joe Public picks up yet another charge to be added to the CIL and Crossrail contribution in London putting up house prices still further. Watch for the increase in Enforcement as clients just crack on regardless. Would not be so bad if us at the coalface found that government pronouncements had got down to the planning officer dealing with my applications!!

  6. Peter Latham permalink

    I remember objecting on behalf of my trade union (NALGO as it was then) to the introduction of planning fees in 1981. Council officer’s time would be better spent improving the service rather than administering charges. It is doubtful economics anyway, as the fees money simply circulates within a limited circle of applicants and local government, to little good effect. A better approach would be a public service funded out of general or local taxation, with companies being taxed appropriately, thus spreading the load more widely, more thinly and with more social justice.

  7. David permalink

    Interesting approach – reduce regulation for flags and modest householder extensions to boost the economy, whilst increasing application fees for everything else (i.e. developments that might actually help the economy) by 15%.

  8. Aarti O'Leary permalink

    Has anyone been able to get hold of a copy of the Letter to Chief Planning Officers that sets out the changes to application fees? I can’t seem to find it on the new website!

  9. Mark Turner permalink

    Not to mention the additional fee`s now involved in discharging conditions (per application!!) Shocking!

  10. Julian Ward permalink

    i have taken a fall in salary, this taken by the present economic facts, less work = less money, not less work = put my fees up to make up the shortfall.
    Yep but who’s going to listen to us…………..

  11. Keith Baker permalink

    It’s just government economics (the you don’t have a choice so pay up kind) On the one hand successively reduce the number of applications LAs get by expanding PD (except of course unless you want a LDC to confirm it is PD) add extra fees for Pre Application or PD Discussions and of course for Discharging Conditions (and by the way make sure there is at least one pre-commencement condition on every permission) Ignore completely any and all productivity gains from e-planning and email communication. oops@ we’ve already spent or earmarked (MPs expenses and the like) that 100+billon that Mr King sent us, we still need more, council tax is frozen, we better put the fees up straight away.

    Its a good job us agents don’t just ignore the economic circumstance and do likewise as nobody would be able to afford to apply, let alone build.

    Well at least it passed the time waiting for Thurs night football to start on the NFL website

  12. John Markham permalink

    It is now November 16th. The fees are quoted as being increased from the 22nd.
    How do these people get away with it!
    Perhaps it’s a typo and it’s Nov ’13

  13. GRPA permalink

    Anybody got any thoughts (even better, knowledge) as to how the ‘Approval of Details following Full Planning Permission’ affects Listed Buildings in the new regime?

    I would guess (?) that pure isolated Listed Building Consent (which invariably attracts conditions of the “contact us when you’ve exposed the structure” sort) will not attract the extra £28/£97 fee, but what if it is mixed with a planning consent (£97 on top of £195 for a replacement shopfront is a pretty steep increase!)?

    • Jen permalink

      Applications to discharge conditions attached to Listed Building Consent do not attract a fee but if attached to a separate planning consent then a fee is required.

      • GRPA permalink

        Thanks for the reply, Jen.

        Just have to implore LAs to put the conditions on the Listed Building Consents, rather than the planning consents then!

        I suspect most of my clients will not bother (although I will urge them otherwise) to formally get conditions approved now on straightforward small-scale planning consents – just wait for theoretical enforcement action. Given that, LAs will almost certainly end up with less control or huge costs!

  14. Jag permalink

    We were warned of planning fees increasing earlier in the year but just annoyed that we are given such short notice. The Gorvernment should have at least given us 1 months notice and even the Local Boroughs dont know what is happening!!!!!!!s

  15. Michael Carroll permalink

    It was inevitable that fees would increase eventually; so, no complaints really. But something should be done about LPA’s apparent enthusiasm to attach conditions to planning approvals which then require additional fees to have them removed. The conditions should be “reasonable” and should be discussed with the agent or applicant beforehand.

    On a recent barn conversion, part of the barn was to be demolished and the bricks were to be reused to build the resultant gable wall. This was clearly shown on my plans and mentioned in the Design and Access Statement. The LPA approved the conversion, but imposed a condition requiring a sample of the bricks to be submitted for prior approval, presumably to check whether the existing bricks were a good match with…………the existing bricks. On the same application, the LPA also attached a condition requiring levels to be submitted – presumably to check whether we were intending to hoist the whole building aloft, or sink it into the ground ?? Mind you, either operation would have made an interesting TV programme, don’t you think ?

    Kerrching !!

    • richardprichard permalink

      Conspiracy or cock up ? I know which I think is more likely. This sounds like lazy copy & paste.

      We’re (PAS) planning on doing something on this issue, but not sure what at this stage. It’s not easy to agree what a “good” condition is, nor whether Council A that has an average of 5.6 conditions per permission is better than council B that has 7.2 conditions.

      Perhaps we’ll fold it into the PPA work next year.

  16. GRPA permalink

    No, I wouldn’t think it was purposely designed to ‘raise funds’ either. It’s not how committees work – so cock up. But for a cash-strapped LPA, raising 50% extra on a replacement shopfront consent is going to be a bit of a heaven-sent temptation isn’t it? Easy to justify a needed condition isn’t it?

    Does anybody actually keep central records on conditions per permission?

  17. Michael Carroll permalink

    Re: Richard’s Comments.
    Conditions are fine, provided that agents and applicants are given prior warning as to what they’re going to be, so that unreasonable conditions and the “cock ups” as Richard puts it can be challenged and perhaps averted before they become enshrined in the approval document – because once that has happened it requires a Herculean effort to try and get them removed.

    My experience suggests that LPA’s are very reluctant to admit that a mistake has been made in imposing a condition. It seems to be a “pride” thing. Nevertheless, I have occasionally managed to obtain written confirmation that conditions have been fulfilled without paying the £85 fee – even though no further information has actually been submitted for checking. Clearly this is a “cop out” which, for some reason, seems preferable to issuing an amended approval document. I don’t know why this should be, and I find it baffling.

    But, in terms of time and effort required to achieve this, it would probably have been more cost effective to have prepared and submitted the additional information together with the fee instead of arguing the case. And that, quite frankly, is a shameful state of affairs in that most agents would feel very uncomfortable in charging a client for additional “mopping up” work caused by a LPA imposing inappropriate and unnecessary conditions.

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