Planning & Environment

The Scottish Government have issued a consultation paper on proposed changes to the fees structure. The deadline for responses is 22 June 2012.

Who should respond? The proposed changes are wide-ranging, so anyone involved in development activity should read the consultation paper. As ever, there are changes not mentioned in the headlines, for example, for agricultural buildings.

The impact is significant: householders are projected to pay an extra £0.3M; housing developments an extra £2.7M; and business/ industry an extra £0.5M. And these sectors are only 60% of all applications.

For retail/ leisure, the fee for small developments (1,500sq.m.) will increase from £6,300 to £8,000; medium (5,000sq.m.) from £15,950 to £33,000 – ie. more than double; large (10,000sq.m.) from £15,950 to £73,000 – ie. more than four times as expensive.

For housing: 1 house – increase from £380 to £800; 2-10 – from £1,200 to £1,800 (average); 11-49 – from £8,000 to £13,000 (average); over 50 – from £16,000 to over £40,000 (average).

The main changes are:

  • maximum fee increased from £15,950 to £100,000 – the maximum fee would be payable for a 427 house development, a retail development of 13,000sq.m., or a 20ha wind farm
  • creation of new leisure and retail, and electricity generation, classes
  • increase in fee for first house/100sq.m. of floorspace
  • removal of the “free go”, ie. fresh application within 12 months of grant, refusal or withdrawal
  • new fees to renew permissions that have not lapsed, and applications to vary or not comply with a condition
  • reduced fees for householder developments within Conservation Areas that do not benefit from permitted development rights
  • fees to increase annually in line with the retail price index

The fee will cover pre-application discussions, so the separate charge for being levied for those by some authorities will stop. The fee will also cover preparation of section 75 agreements.

For major applications, there is a proposal to split payment of the fee, with an initial % payable on submission of the application, and the remainder at an appropriate point later in the process.

Neil Collar

Partner at Brodies LLP
Neil is a partner at Brodies LLP and consistently rated as one of Scotland’s leading planning lawyers. He is well known for both his planning inquiry advocacy and his advisory work. Neil has a particular interest in renewable energy developments.
Neil Collar