Responding to the LGA’s analysis of planning application costs, Cllr John Fuller, Chairman of the District Councils’ Network, said:
“The District Councils’ Network has long called for locally set planning fees so at to increase the capacity of our planning departments. As this analysis reveals the current level of nationally set fees are heaping financial pressure on local authorities and putting councils’ ability to deliver housing growth in a timely manner at risk.
“District councils have invested heavily in online planning systems, with the result that many more people are now engaging with the planning process and making representations, which need to be taken into account. This important democratisation of an administrative process produced better decisions but has added to cost.
“There is no doubt that district councils play a fundamental role in boosting growth, as the authorities responsible for housing and planning. However, as demand for council planning services increases, pressure caused by wider council funding cuts, and the ongoing inability for local authorities to recover the true cost of processing planning applications, continues to grow.
“Whilst we await with baited breath for the Government to enact the planned 20 per cent increase to planning fees, this research demonstrates the importance of the Government agreeing to locally set planning fees going forward.”