A consultation on changing the fees for planning applications has been published by the DCLG. This consultation only applies to planning application fees in England.
The proposal is to decentralise the fee structure for planning applications and allow local authorities to set their own fees. There will also be the option for local authorities to charge for items which are currently free. The objective is that the planning system is more directly funded by application fees and less by taxation which, in the current environment, is not surprising.
This consultation is potentially very important to landlord’s of HMOs. As we have previously reported, a number of local authorities have made, or suggested that they will make, article 4 directions to opt-out of the general permitted development rights for a change in use from a private dwelling to an HMO (ie from the C3 to the C4 use class). The changes fee structure is intended to come into force in October 2011, at exactly the same time as the article 4 directions made by Manchester and Portsmouth Councils will also come into force.
Obviously there remains an argument as to whether planning consent is needed for a change to use as an HMO at all, as we have discussed here. However, for those who seek to apply for that permission the costs of doing so are likely to increase.
The consultation is open for responses until 7 January 2011.