On 6 December 2023 planning application fees will significantly increase by between 25% – 35% depending upon the type of application. Such changes will be brought into effect by the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applicants, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2023.
Application fees will thereafter increase annually, starting 1 April 2025 based on the Consumer Price Index.
Therefore, applicants and agents should be mindful of such annual planning fee increase, and it is expected that planning authorities will see a surge in applications each February and March as applicants look to avoid the increased fees.
As of such date there will also no longer be a right to a free second application following the refusal or withdrawal of an earlier application. If you wish to exercise the ‘free go’ then such application must be submitted and considered ‘duly made’ before 6 December.
The Regulations also reduce the planning guarantee for non-major planning applications from 26 weeks to 16 weeks. Major applications remain 26 weeks. The planning guarantee is the right to a refund of the application fee if a decision is not made within a specified period of time. The 16-week period is calculated from the day after the application is received by the planning authority. The planning guarantee is lost if an extension of time is agreed.
Accordingly, the reduced planning guarantee will put more pressure on planning authorities to make decisions in reasonable time so as to not lose funding from application fees. However, in light of the loss of a free application and the higher application fees, applicants and agents should consider carefully on whether to agree a requested extension of time – the refund in essence being a substitute for the ‘free go’.