Planning & Environment

Planning application fees in Scotland will increase by approximately 20% from 6 April 2013.  The increase comes as part of the Scottish Government’s programme of planning reforms and will see, for example, the fee for residential dwelling houses increased from £319 to £382 each, subject to a maximum of £19,100 (previously £15,950).

It’s widely felt that there needs to be a link between planning application fees and the performance of planning authorities in dealing with applications. Though the increase is less than some had anticipated, for many applicants it would perhaps be a slightly less bitter pill to swallow if it meant that their planning application was dealt with quicker. At a recent Scottish Government working group to promote the use of processing agreements, it was clear that the planning fees will indeed be linked to performance, certainly in the case of major developments.

We haven’t yet heard of a planning fee being part-refunded because a planning authority has been tardy in dealing with an application and/or has failed to meet deadlines where a processing agreement has been used, for example, but that may very well become the norm in the future.

It will be interesting to see whether and to what extent the proposal comes to fruition, and how the Scottish Government intend to implement and regulate it. It’ll also be interesting to see whether anything comes of the suggestion that linking fees to performance will lead to rushed decision making.

See our previous posts on planning reform here.

Neil Collar

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