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Consultation on Planning Application Fees

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.

4 Comments

  • David 23rd November 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Is it not right to say that if an article 4 direction is issued then the local authority cannot charge for an application against that direction?

    • PainSmith 24th November 2010 at 12:08 am

      We think you are referring to the ability of people to claim compensation if an article 4 direction is made and then planning consent is refused. As far as we are aware planning fees are still payable when an application is made which is occasioned by a direction.

  • Alison 24th November 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I agree with David, there is no charge for planning applications required solely as a result of an Article 4 Direction.

    • PainSmith 24th November 2010 at 1:41 pm

      Having checked into this you are quite right. Regulation 5 of the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) Regulations 1989 provides an exception for planning fees made subject to a article 4 direction. However, this is an exception which could be changed by the current consultation although this is not a suggestion specifically raised. Council’s that have made article 4 directions will, doubtless, seek to have this exception removed.

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