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Will increasing planning application fees result in a better planning system?

It seems that property developers are facing large increases in planning application fees as part of the government’s attempts to balance the books in the autumn spending review.

As we are all aware the government has restricted funding to many public sectors including planning authorities, who have had to lay off thousands of planners as a result.  This is why many developers argue that the planning system has become slower and less efficient for everyone.

A recent report suggests that the current fee levels are insufficient to cover council costs.  The report found that local authorities spent £450m covering planning applications over the past three years.  Therefore, the government plan to shift spending from the state to consumers (the general population) so that local planning authorities can increase their finance’s and become more efficient.
 It has been said that the increase in application fee will ensure that local government can process a larger number of planning applications and help tackle the housing shortage.

It has also been reported that developers will support higher fees if they see improvements in the planning service for example applications processed more quickly.  This is something that will appeal to our clients, a more time efficient system giving (potentially) greater certainty, timings and therefore monetisation of projects.  Clients quite rightly want to know how long something will take get through the planning system, but experience has shown that this is not always easily predicted, but we always aim to provide as accurate planning project forecasts as possible.  More efficient planning authorities will certainly help this.

According to a new poll by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), up to 84% of the British public would like to see subsides given to programs that reduce energy wastage.  For a firm that promotes sustainable development and green principles, it is very encouraging to see more and more people backing the concept.  A fact that many people do not know, is that British dwellings have some of the worst energy efficiencies levels in Europe.  The idea of subsidies is not something I necessary agree with, but in this case could yield vast sums for the economy by creating a market place where business strive to introduce new initiative products and services to increase efficiency which could also be exported to other nations.  In my eyes it is imperative that all new houses are built to a highly efficient level which over time wastage is minimal.

The fact that energy is getting more expensive year on year and the government are guaranteeing Chinese investments for energy production, should it not be the case that money should be invested in to efficiency therefore not needing the vast amounts of costly energy in the first place?



Author: Woolley
Published on: Friday, November 6th, 2015
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