Planning Portal

Planning Fees Should Reflect The Full Cost Of Processing Planning Applications, Argues Angela Smith

Published on Fri, 27 Jun 2003
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Angela Smith MP, today launched a consultation paper on planning fees.
At present the taxpayer at large pays for a substantial part of the costs processing planning applications. The Minister wants to see applicants contributing more.
Angela Smith said: "This Review is another important step in my commitment to modernising planning processes. The consultation paper puts forward proposals for simplifying the structure of planning fees and seeks views on the extent of the costs that should be recovered through planning fees.
"Our aim is to make the fee structure easier for people to understand and apply. But the fee charged should also reflect the true cost of processing planning applications. Currently, planning fees recover only a proportion of the costs of development control. The costs of key consultees during the planning application process are not recovered at all. Further, the costs of the Planning Service itself are narrowly defined around the processing of the planning application, when there are a number of other planning activities that contribute to the decision making process. Should these costs continue to be borne by the community through the public purse or by applicants through planning fees?
"The demands being made upon the Planning Service and other contributors to the development control process have increased dramatically in recent years. If the DOE is to provide the public with a speedy, responsive development control system, then the Planning Service and other participants in the development control process must be adequately resourced. A fuller and more direct relationship between the costs incurred and planning fees will provide those involved with the resources needed to respond to changes in demand."

Notes to Editors

  1. Angela Smith MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, launched the Modernising Planning Processes Implementation Plan on 3 February 2003. This followed the Modernising Planning Processes Consultation Paper, published on 13 February 2002, which was the first comprehensive review of the planning system in nearly 30 years.
  2. Representations to the Consultation Paper were carefully considered and analysed when the Implementation Plan was prepared. The Implementation Plan sets out the way forward on each issue and gives a timescale within which it is aimed to take it forward.
  3. In its MPP Consultation Paper, the DOE stated that in order to deliver a fundamental improvement in performance, planning needed to be better resourced. It accepted that any increase in fees must be matched by a better service.
  4. The majority of responses to the MPP Consultation Paper recognised the need to ensure that the Planning Service is adequately resourced and operates cost effectively. This also applied to key consultees in the development control process. There was strong support for increased fees provided that a higher quality service would follow, especially as regards speed and quality of decision making.
  5. This Consultation Paper on the Review of Planning Fees proposes a simplification of the structure of planning. It also fees seeks view on the scope of the costs of the Planning Service and others that should be recovered from developers using planning services.
  6. For further information please contact

    Philip Maguire
    DOE Press Office
    Tel 028 9054 0003
    mobile 07713 652815
    e mail:
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