BPF comments on Local Government Finance Settlement announcement on planning fees

The British Property Federation (BPF) has commented on proposals laid out by Secretary of State Greg Clark MP that will allow local authorities with struggling planning departments to increase their planning fees in line with inflation.

As part of the Local Government Finance Settlement, Clark announced that he would consult on allowing well-performing planning departments “to increase their fees in line with inflation at the most, providing that the revenue reduces the cross subsidy that the planning function currently gets from council tax payers”.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said:

“The lack of skills and resources within local authority planning departments is a chronic problem, and announcements like today’s show that the Government is moving in the right direction to address it. Allowing underperforming authorities to make inflationary increases to their fees, however, is unlikely to make a huge amount of difference in practice.

“Coupled with the announcement a few weeks ago that will allow local authorities to outsource the processing of planning applications, this is a step in the right direction and wit is good that the Government is listening to the concerns of both the public and private sectors. A more decisive move is needed if we are to properly tackle this problem once and for all.”