The Planning Officers Society (POS) has added further responses to its previous analysis of the reduction in the number of planning applications and also included statistics on reductions in fee income. 65 local planning authorities have now provided data.
Whilst the average drop in the number of applications received is 18.8% they range from 40% to an increase of 1.1%. For fee income the average reduction is 16.3%, ranging from a massive 50% to an increase of 27%.
Chris Lyons, Development Services Manager at Havant Borough Council, said “our applications are down 40% but as this is mostly within the householder category our fees are holding up well against last year but we had predicted a much higher income with the new fee regulations and several large schemes on the cards (that haven’t materialised) so our income is currently 28% off our budget estimate. The reason for the drop in householder applications is not clear and could be as a result of lack of money or the recent GPDO changes however I suspect it is due to both of them.
Maddy Winter, Planning Transition Manager and Acting Head of Planning and Building Services at Test Valley Borough Council, said “this information is top of my agenda at present as my Council faces a £2m budget gap, mainly due to drop in interest from our investments. Planning applications were down 16.5% in 2008 from 2007 levels; fee income just dropped 1.5%. It is hard to tell whether our reduction in householder applications is a result of the recession or comes from the changes to the GDPO - we suspect it is the former as our regular agents have not yet got to grips with the new GDPO.”