Planning application fees set for increase

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The costs to submit planning applications are set to change, following the recent approval of new regulations. Whether you’re a large-scale developer or wanting to make changes to your home, here’s what you need to know:

Amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) Regulations 2023, which were approved by government on 8 November, are set to make a raft of changes around planning application fees, and will come into force on 6 December.

Among the changes being introduced are:

  • An increase to planning application fees by 35% for applications for major development and 25% for all other applications. The maximum fee for major applications will rise to £405,000, while the fee for householder application will increase from £206 to £258;
  • The Introduction of an annual indexation of planning applications fees, capped at 10%. Fees will be adjusted annually in line with inflation and the Consumer Prices Index from 1 April 2025;
  • Removing the fee exemption for repeat applications – also known as the ‘free-go’. Applicants will still be able to benefit from a fee exemption if their application was withdrawn or refused in the preceding 12 months (subject to all other conditions for the free-go being met);
  • Reducing the Planning Guarantee for non-major planning applications from 26 to 16 weeks. The timescale for the planning guarantee - right of refund for applicants - is to be tightened up for non-major applications, which means that Applicants can reclaim their fee back, if a decision has not been made within 16 weeks of submitting their application, compared to the current 26 weeks;
  • The introduction of a new prior approval fee of £120 for applications for development by the Crown on closed defense sites.

Prospective and current applicants should be aware that Planning Portal are planning an outage at the close of business on 5 December to apply the changes, with subsequent submissions being subject to the new fees.

Kiran Maher, Solicitor in the Thrings Planning and Environment team, said: “Whether you are a developer looking to roll out 3,000 new houses or a homeowner looking to build an extension, these changes will have a financial impact on your plans. Local planning authorities will be making arrangements to update their websites to reflect the changes so keep an eye out to avoid any surprises.”

Thrings’ Planning and Environment lawyers have extensive experience in navigating complex local and national planning policy legislation and has successfully supported commercial and residential applications through the approval and appeal processes. To find out more and for advice on your development proposals, including how to address enforcement notices, please do get in touch.

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