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English councils urge right to set planning fees individually

by on September 3, 2015

English local authorities have urged ministers for the right to set their own planning charges as part of a submission by the Local Government Association (LGA) ahead of November’s spending review. This is widely expected to contain £20bn in government funding cuts.

The council body argued that introducing locally-set planning fees would “ensure effective, responsive and fully funded council planning services, removing the burden from taxpayers who currently subsidise 30 per cent of total costs”.

The LGA submission also made a case for the removal of the current national exemptions to s106 contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charges. The association said it wanted the present policy to be replaced with “a more robust and transparent local viability assessment process”.

The submission argued for the simplifying of CIL regulations and guidance and the removal of the restriction on pooling s106 contributions for strategic sites identified in local plans.

In addition, the councils’ organisation has called for assurances that local areas can use the local growth fund to support local housing and infrastructure investment strategies.

The LGA submission also insisted that local planning authorities should have the power to ensure developers prioritise brownfield sites. It has highlighted the need for councils to be able to have a say over new development on all brownfield land and proposals to convert offices to homes.

Read the LGA report ‘Spending Smarter: A Shared Commitment’

Roger Milne

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