The Planning Officers Society has welcomed the DCLG decision to introduce local fee setting for planning applications as it will give Local Planning Authorities the discretion to claw back some of the costs of the planning service from applicants which hitherto were borne by the general taxpayer.
The Government, in new proposals out for consultation, will give the LPAs the power to introduce their own fees for all types of applications, except those for Listed Buildings and trees subject to a Tree Preservation Order.
The Society believes this move will go some way to reducing the administrative and financial burden that processing planning applications puts on LPAs.
Stephen Tapper, the Society's President, indicated that "whilst this is good news for cash strapped authorities we should try to avoid adjoining authorities poaching much needed regeneration development from one another; we don't want a fee price war."
Phil Kirby, one of the Society's Vice President Emeritus, said "this is a clear acknowledgement that local authorities are best placed to determine the level of fees that should be charged for the services they provide. The Society welcomes this move which brings with it greater local accountability."
The Society has announced that it will be issuing guidelines to LPAs so that they can demonstrate clearly the costs of the planning service on a consistent basis thus allowing easy comparisons to be made between authorities.