High performing councils could be allowed to increase planning fees


The government is considering allowing high performing councils to increase their planning application fees…

A consultation is underway to consider whether high performing planning teams should be afforded the opportunity to increase planning application fees.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark announced the decision in parliament last week, stating that “well-performing councils” may be allowed to “increase their fees in line with inflation at the most, provided that the revenue reduces the cross-subsidy the planning function currently gets from other council tax payers”.

The consultation follows an amendment put forward in the Housing and Planning Bill last month that would simplify the process for setting fees. An impact assessment accompanying amendments to the Bill said this would prevent “future action to link fees more effectively to local standards of performance” from being delayed.

“Competition is expected to create a more diversified offer in terms of the speed and fee of services available to planning applicants, for example, approved providers and local planning authorities participating in pilot schemes may offer a guarantee to process planning applications more quickly in return for a higher fee (a ‘fast-track’ service)”, said the assessment.

“It could increase costs for some applicants and it could be that some applicants for planning permission may not be able to pay for any premium service which is offered.”

The government is also seeking to introduce pilot schemes to enable a third party chosen by the developer to process planning applications. It is hoped this will speed up the process.


  1. Let’s hope that “high Performing” does not mean simply those councils who have good figures for percentage of applications dealt with in time. That is not the measure that applicants would wish.
    All too often, and especially for domestic applications, an officer will not look at an application at all until a site visit the actual last day of the statutory period, and will make a decision immediately. That gives no option for the applicant or his architect to make what may be a tiny alteration and gain permission within the original time period. This wastes time all round and only serves to delay permission.
    Nearly all Councils refuse to allow discussion, without payment and long delays,, will not respond to emails ot letters. Most will not even acknowledge applications now, but the applicant is expected to check online every day to see what is happening.
    That is not good performance.
    If higher fees mean that there is to be a BETTER SERVICE TO PROFESSIONALS I do not think Clients would object to that.


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