The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has reiterated to HM Treasury ahead of the Autumn Budget that local authorities in England should be allowed to raise planning fees to cover the entire costs of the planning application function, if they choose to.
In its Budget representation to the Chancellor Philip Hammond, the RTPI said planning fees, even with an increase of 20% recently, only cover 40% of the overall running cost of development control services (which involves determining planning applications) in England. Planning fees, even with an increase of 20% recently, only cover 40% of the overall running cost of development control services in England.
The creation of local plans, a proactive function to which the Government attaches considerable importance and is vital to addressing the housing crisis, is ‘entirely dependent on central council funding and has to compete with headline urgent needs in social care’, the RTPI says. Asking applicants to foot 100% of the administrative costs of planning would allow councils to devote precious funds to better support social care, housing and other frontline services.
The RTPI also asks that any planning fee increases should continue to be ring-fenced for planning purposes and aimed at continued increases in performances. Richard Blyth, RTPI Head of Policy and Research, said:
‘Our work with local planning authorities has alerted us to the severe shortage of local planning authority staff. The budgetary pressures in many areas are so acute that resources are only enough to cover the basic statutory functions despite the pressing need for innovative local solutions to housing.’