Councils are working hard to deliver the right kind of homes, and are currently approving nine out of ten planning permissions.
- Councils are working hard to deliver the right kind of homes, and are currently approving nine out of ten planning permissions. However, planning departments are severely under-resourced. Taxpayers are subsidising the costs of planning applications by around £200 million a year.
- In order to adequately resource their planning departments, councils need the ability to raise planning fees. We would like to see the approval of the amended Town and Country Planning Regulations 2017, which will enable councils to raise fees by 20 per cent and allow them to charge planning applications fees when permitted development rights have been removed. The Government should urgently implement these regulations.
- Without the approval of these regulations, planning departments are set to miss out on an extra £70 million in the current financial year. The Autumn Budget contained measures intended to speed up development, but included nothing to help the resourcing of planning departments, which councils have long called for.
- A further 20 per cent increase in planning fees should be permitted for all local planning authorities, and not be dependent on nationally-set performance criteria. Alongside this, the Government should test a fair and transparent scheme to give councils the flexibility to set appropriate fees to reflect local circumstances.
- A proactive, well-resourced planning system could do far more to deliver the additional homes the country desperately needs. It could also help to deliver them in ways that meet wider national objectives on infrastructure, public health and the environment.