New fee for planning applications
August 03, 2012
Householders must now pay for pre-application advice for any home extensions after the borough council’s executive members approved a new fee.
At the executive meeting at the council’s offices in Shute End last Thursday, members unanimously approved a flat rate fee of £75.
Councillor Keith Baker, executive member for highways and planning, said the change followed the lead of other authorities. Cllr Baker said: “We are the last authority in the area to introduce the fee.
“At the moment we are providing applicants with advice that would cost at a planning consultant.
“Why should we do that for free?
“There is evidence from surrounding boroughs that the quality of the eventual product is much better and there’s less chance of it having to come back again.
“There is also a considered opinion that if things are free people don’t value it as much as if they have to pay.”
Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor questioned whether the added charge could discourage smaller applicants from taking up the service.
The council estimates it could raise £270,000 in revenue from the fees over the next three years.
The money will be reinvested into the development management service, helping address demand and developing an improved level of service.