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Pressure grows on planning fee reform

by on November 12, 2015

The Local Government Association (LGA) has stepped up its pressure on the Government to allow councils to set their own planning fees.

The Association is urging the administration to remove the cap introduced in 2012 when the Chancellor spells out the results of his spending review in the Autumn Statement due on 27 November. There is speculation that the Treasury, keen to see the pace of house building accelerate, is sympathetic.

The LGA said existing nationally-set planning fees had only covered around two-thirds of the actual costs faced by councils in handling planning applications since 2012.

The organisation which represents local authorities across England estimated that the shortfall had already cost councils £450,000 over the past three years and the cost of planning applications was increasing annually by around £150,000.

The LGA also stressed that two thirds of private sector respondents to a survey by the developers’ trade body the British Property Federation had indicated a willingness to pay higher planning fees to help planning departments provide an effective service.

LGA housing spokesman Peter Box said: “It is unacceptable for communities to keep being forced to spend hundreds of millions each year to cover a third of the cost of all planning applications.

Government should recognise the huge pressure this is placing on already stretched planning departments that are crucial to building the homes and roads that local communities need but which have seen 46 per cent reductions in funding over the past five years.”

He added: “The Spending Review should allow local authorities to recover the actual cost of applications and end such a needless waste of taxpayers’ money when developers are willing to pay more.”

View the press release

Roger Milne

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