It has been requested that the Government 'remove the uncertainty' around a promised 20 per cent rise in planning application fees in England. This request has been submitted by a senior council officers' group within the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT). It has been raised after February’s Housing White Paper said that councils in England would be able to apply the rise from July 2017. The implementation date was re-confirmed in April after it had mistakenly been suggested that the increase had been delayed until the autumn.
There were restrictions placed around the 20 per cent fee increase. These were submitted by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), who put forward a proposal to local planning authorities. The DCLG outlined that the revenue collected from the 20 per cent fee increase should be invested back into the planning departments. The statement from the DCLG said "Our Housing White Paper set out plans to let local authorities increase fees by 20 per cent if they commit to invest the additional fee income in their planning department”. With the statement they promised to publish further details in due course.
However, further details have yet to be published. The President of the ADEPT, Simon Neilson, commented: "The proposed rise of 20 per cent for planning application fees was a welcome part of the Housing White Paper, but uncertainty remains over its implementation. For local authorities, it would be a vital source of revenue to shore up stretched planning departments across the country. By removing the uncertainty around these potential fees and ensuring there is a fresh, ring-fenced investment into the skills and system of planning, the process can be improved, helping developers and the local economy alike."
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