Planning magazine reports that Ministers have announced plans to allow 'well-performing' councils to increase planning fees. Greg Clark said that the increase can only be made in line with inflation "at the most", and only by "well-performing" planning departments. He added that the increase would come with an expectation to reduce the income, or "cross subsidy", planning departments receive from council tax payers.
Mike Kiely, Chair of the Board of the Planning Officers Society, told a Planning reporter that more sophisticated indicators were needed to determine which authorities should be eligible for the fee rise. He said: "A good service should be defined using a range of measures, and without creating a whole industry, these should include the eight to 13-week performance, but also the success rate at appeal, which is a proxy to quality of decision making, and the amount of applications that are dealt with under delegated powers, which is a proxy for an efficient system."
Kiely believes that a shift towards council planning teams covering more of their own costs would put them in a stronger position and less vulnerable to spending cuts. "What it does mean is that when councils come under pressure to make cuts, there is nothing to cut from the development management service as it is externally funded," he explained.