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Planning application fee changes in effect from 17 January 2018

by on January 11, 2018

The Planning Portal has successfully deployed application fee changes in response to the legislation that increased planning application fees by 20 per cent in England, removed some exemptions, and introduced new categories in regard to applications for Permission in Principle.

The changes made by the government came into force on 17 January 2018.

View ‘The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2017’.

What we did

We can confirm that:

  • We have updated and tested all the fee values for applications in England on the integrated and standalone fee calculators to match the new legislation.
  • We updated the fee calculators at 00:00 on the 17 January to minimise the chances of applications being submitted with incorrect fees.
  • We have amending the text in regard to the fee exemption for Article 4 directions (or previously imposed conditions) to warn users that the exemption is no longer valid for applications in England and should therefore not be used. Note that we have retained the exemption for applications in Wales.
  • All draft applications in England on our system with previously calculated fees have had these cleared as part of the work, forcing users to recalculate them with the new higher values.
  • Users amending previously submitted applications are warned that the fees have changed and that they may need to pay a higher fee on re-submission.
  • Finally, we have updated our PDF fee schedule for England:, so any existing links to it will show the updated version (note that if you are still seeing the old version, you may need to clear your browser cache).


Details of the legislation’s progress:

  1. David hartley permalink

    At this time of great uncertainty, didn’t we ought to be lobbying against this extortionate rise in fees. Surely any increase in fees should be linked to public sector pay increases or inflation.

    • Trevor Dennington permalink

      Fat chance, David.
      Council tax increases are also approved – as if CIL and Affordable Housing bungs are not fleecing house builders enough already and boosting council coffers.
      I really do NOT believe that politicians of any party have a clue about the housing market.

  2. Trevor Dennington permalink

    20% ??? That proposed increase in planning application fees is outrageous and destructive. The former Conservative-led administration of Cameron and Osborne introduced CIL after pinching the idea from Brown and his Planning Gain Supplement, thereby introducing a tax on new housebuilding that has failed and messed up the housing market every time since 1948 it has been tried on. Osborne then compounded the error by drastically increasing stamp duty for landlords, and now this current administration is going to make it ridiculously expensive to even apply for planning permission … whilst purporting to be determined to build 300,000 new homes a year. I now wonder whether our politicians of any colour have the slightest understanding of the housing market – and, before you draw the wrong conclusion, this is not political because it is a lifelong Conservative voter speaking

  3. Tony Fuller permalink

    We do not mind paying this increase if the service is improved. In the past three years no local authority has met their pre-application or full planning permission response deadlines due to staffing problems. Apparently if the LA can prove they are under-staffed then there is no comeback on them if they miss their deadlines. So we are paying for a service that hardly ever meets its promises! Doesn’t seem right to me and what is even worse is there doesn’t seem to be any promises to rectify the problem.
    This situation is stopping thousands of small developers like us building much needed homes. Incredibly frustrating.

    • Tony Fuller permalink

      Sorry, I meant to say ”no Local Authority where we have submitted applications”.

    • Chris Goodman permalink

      If a Local Authority finds problems in reasonably prompt response then it must improve and simplify its procedures and staff motivation to meet applicants deadlines. Staff shortages is NOT an acceptable excuse for failure. Where throughput is regularly failing to meet the requirement then it is patently obvious that the management is failing and should be replaced until the required result is obtained. Planning Authorities must always remember that THE CUSTOMER COMES FIRST however inconvenient.

  4. Ms S Lewis permalink

    Where did 20% come from? I work for a small SME and we depend on new schemes for future work opportunities .This is just another barrier to smaller developers and will mean a monopoly situation which can’t be good for house builders/ potential residents or the industry as a whole

  5. The thing is that we often get a poor standard of service these days, very slow registration of applications, planning officers only allocated to cases very late in the determination period, sometimes no site visits, inexperienced staff, part time staff, poor communications, questionable decisions, little discussion, no performance guarantees. This all results in more work and hassle for agents yet we can’t increase our fees by 20%.

  6. Rob Collins permalink

    Far be it from me to defend the government (as a local authority employee, I’m hardly likely to do that), but this will be the first increase in the fees for most application types for 6 years. The fee increase is also ‘ring fenced’ so the money can only be spent on planning services, which I would have thought would be welcomed by anyone within the sector.

    • Tony Fuller permalink

      Rob, that is great to hear if it actually improves the service. For example, we have just been informed we have to wait another 3 weeks for a response to our pre-application submission. That will be 11 weeks from when it was validated and this is for a small residential development.
      We are being encouraged to go the pre-app route and in the early delays were receiving replies around 4 weeks!
      We do not have a problem paying the 20% but if 11-12 weeks is going to be the norm it will deter developers submitting pre-apps.
      This must be causing a huge bottle-neck in the house building chain!

      • Ian Ray permalink

        Hi Tony,
        We have found pre – apps to be a total waste of time. We have had several cases where we have been told one thing in the pre – app and then the actual case officer says the opposite.
        I complained to one Authority and the Head of Planning said “Well, it was, only the Officers opinion at the time “!!!!!!!!

      • Trevor Dennington permalink

        Ian Ray’s response is right on the nail. I have lost track of the number of our clients complaining that the same officer who indicated a favourable response subsequently refused the application submitted. Charges made by many authorities are also probably illegal because charges may only be levied for non-statutory services on a cost recovery basis, and it is clear that a profit is built in to some council pre-app charges.
        As for including a paragraph stating “This is officer opinion and the council may decide differently” as many councils do, if private sector planning consultancies included that in charged advice they would be derided.
        Council planning staff are not paid to help anyone to win valuable planning permission but to pursue the authority’s policies and objectives.

    • Trevor Dennington permalink

      Sorry Rob, but we’ve had no significant inflation for 6 years so why should a 20% increase in application fees be justified by an absence of a previous increase over that period ?

  7. John Newton permalink

    This is an absolute disgrace to pluck the figure of 20% out of the sky. This will only lead to more unauthorised development as people will just crack on without applying for planning permission. I worked as a planning officer for 20 odd years back in 1970 onwards when we had no charges and a far better understanding of ‘public service’. As a consultant I despair at the level of service we get now and this major increase in fees will alienate planning departments even more. Not a very clever idea. As above comments we cannot just increase our fees by 20%!!

  8. Ian Ray permalink

    More money for the Planning Departments ??? Its the agents that need increased fees for having to deal with such poor and inconsistent service we receive from Planning Departments. Government doesn’t realise what a mess the whole Planning system is in and how poorly it is administered.
    20% is totally outrageous.

  9. Joe Andrews permalink

    Hey Rob, I think the last increase in fees was actually 15 April 2015 and to reckoning is only 2.25 years ago. Or have I got it all wrong again.

    • Joe, it has been £172 for many years, anyway the level of service we received way back at that increase was far better than today.

  10. William Heath permalink

    Can I I assume that the fees for planning permission is no longer zero for the disabled?

    • kirstymatthewson permalink

      Hi William, thanks for getting in touch and apologies for the delay in replying. The disabled persons exemption is still in effect as per regulation 4 of the legislation: This allows a fee not to be applied in the specific circumstances described. We also still show this exemption on our service where applicable.
      It is ultimately the judgement of the Local Authority receiving the application if this exemption is valid in each individual instance. I hope that is helpful. All the best, Kirsty

  11. Andrew ilty permalink

    An increase in Fees should be related to an increase in performance by LPAs reducing time and negative outcomes in planning

    • Trevor Dennington permalink

      I agree, Andrew. Unfortunately, ever since Gordon Brown reintroduced the tax on planning permissions in the guise of Planning Gain “Supplement” (supplement to WHAT ?) and Cameron/Osborne changed the name to Community Infrastructure “Levy” (i.e. tax) to make it sound more meritorious, government has treated property development as a cash cow whilst paradoxically proclaiming that it will build hundreds of thousands of houses a year and yet pushing out of housing development HALF of the country’s SME builders because their potential profit simply does not justify the massive financial risks involved in housebuilding.
      The Cameron/Osborne government then choked off private landlords by increasing stamp duty on their purchases, which resulted in half of them getting out of buy-to-let.
      Needless to say, planning authorities and their voracious appetite for “resources” (i.e. money) have ensured that the consequences off all of this have ensured that – despite the gimmicks deployed in lieu of acknowledging mistakes made – there is no prospect whatever of solving the housing crisis until common sense prevails and the importance of housebuilding to the UK economy ever since the 1960s is once again recognised.

  12. Edward Dyke permalink

    We submitted 3 planning applications via the Planning Portal on the 16th January paying the old fee and on the understanding that we were safe to do so up until 20:00 hrs that night when the Portal closed to update the fees for the 17th change. The applications were uploaded between 17:00 and 17:30. The LPA has now come back to us stating that because their normal office hours are 08:30 – 17:00 they did not receive the applications until the 17th January and therefore the new fees are applicable. This seems very unjust when there was no warning on either the Planning Portal or the LPA’s website that that would be the case.
    Please would you confirm what the Planning Portals view is on this.

    • kirstymatthewson permalink

      Thanks for your feedback. We informed users as soon as it was announced that the fees were changing and what actions we’d be taking in the application area of the site, as well as the information-led web pages. We did not make specific comments in regard to submission times, as the receipt of an application by local authorities can be affected by numerous things such as the level of the specific authority’s integration with the Portal and the payment route chosen by the agent or applicant, amongst others. Based on your feedback, we’ll look at how we can make this clearer in any future fee changes.

  13. Miles Forsyth permalink

    Inflation is at a rate of 3% (having increased in recent years) – so the £172 rate of 2014 might reasonably be about £193 or £194 now. The rise to £206 is more like an equivalent 4 or 5% increase each year – higher than inflation’s been in a long while.

    But I think the experience, as a fairly infrequent but long-time user of the Planning system, has indeed declined, while becoming more onerous on the part of the applicant/agent in the meantime. Policy has always been vague and open to wide interpretation and as a commenter above says “one reads one thing from a pre-app (which is often vague and non-committal anyway in my experience) and another from the appointed officer once in determination”. Animosity between developers and planners can only grow when we hear such things as “there’s no precedence in planning” over one aspect and then “we’d like it to look like this or that scheme nearby” on another.

    It (the Development Control process) needs to become a far more rational system for many more types of applications – think permitted development (and its guidance): A recent-ish example was a refusal on grounds of too high a density, where the LPA published no specific density guidelines (the TCPA publish a ‘view’ on density, this application was lower than that) and actually the proposed density was, when measured and compared with surrounding context, actually very consistent. Demonstrating this cut no ice with the LPA however. I’ve little faith in any greater consistency amongst Planning Inspectors. I’m sure we’ve all experienced similar degrees of vagueness which ultimately makes the process slow, frustrating and expensive for the applicants.

    And what happened to The Raynesford Review ? Last I’d heard (after filling in a questionnaire early-ish last year) it would be published late in 2018….

    Isn’t this a system that talks about change, faffs about with a few elements, takes an age to implement any of it and then actually carries on as normal, largely regardless ? Meanwhile, ratcheting up the costs…..One feels some greater justification would be appropriate.

  14. Trevor Dennington permalink

    Bang on target, Miles !

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