18 Feb 2016
Policy area: Planning
Government proposals to allow well-performing local authorities to increase their planning application fees and to compete to process planning applications have been hailed by the property industry as a significant boost for cash-strapped local authorities.
The proposals, outlined in a government consultation released today, have been welcomed by the British Property Federation (BPF), which has long campaigned for changes to be made to the planning fee regime, and to help planning departments who suffer from a lack of skills and resources.
The BPF and GL Hearn’s 2015 Annual Planning Survey showed that 55% of local planning authorities perceived under-resourcing to be a significant challenge, and 75% of applicants were dissatisfied with the length of time a planning application takes.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, commented: “Both the public and private sectors alike have expressed deep dissatisfaction at the way in which the lack of resources in local authority planning departments is having a detrimental impact on development. The proposals announced today go some way in to address that dissatisfaction, and we are delighted to see that Government has listened to the industry and is trying to tackle this.
“A carrot-and-stick approach to planning application fees, whereby those local authorities who perform well are rewarded for their performance, is something that we have advocated for a long time. Rewarding those who are performing well in times of constrained public finances should inspire those who are under-performing to emulate them. Also, allowing local authorities to fast-track and even outsource the processing of planning applications should be a further boost to struggling authorities, and will help to bring about important development and regeneration opportunities.
“Combined, these two measures should be welcome news for developers and local authorities alike.”
The consultation closes on 15 April 2016.