The Cost of Further Reform? - Consultation on Proposed Increase to Scottish Planning Fees in 2012
Scottish Planning Minister Derek Mackay delivered an address to Scottish Parliament on 28 March 2012 launching a range of reports and consultation papers under what was termed “Planning Reform: The Next Steps”. The published papers represent a mix between a call for suggestions on the best way to proceed with further reform – such as what can be done to improve the facilitation of development and infrastructure, and whether the development plan examination process be changed for the better – and legislative changes to tweak the performance of the planning system – changes to S42 classifications and refinements to the GPDO. However, the most significant of the announced consultation papers appears likely to lead to the biggest shake-up of planning fees in Scotland in recent times.
‘Consultation on Fees for Planning Applications 2012’ seeks views on suggested draft regulations and fee structures aimed at making planning application fees reflect the time and resources required to determine them – changes which would reflect the higher fees structure found in England. Although Table A of the consultation provides a brief summary of the changes, a more detailed summary of what we consider to be the key changes is provided below:
· Maximum planning fee to rise from £15,950 to £100,000 for a full planning permission; from £7,975 to £50,000 for a planning permission in principle (PPP).
The full consultation paper – including the draft regulations and the consultation questions being asked – can be found at:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0039/00390663.pdf Consultation responses are being sought by 22 June 2012.
The paper states that, following assessment of the consultation responses received, the Scottish Government would expect to lay this Statutory Instrument in Parliament in autumn 2012.
So in summary, fees are likely to increase significantly across the board, but remain less than half of those in force south of the border. It appears that householders and smaller scale developments will see the least increase (and potential fee reductions) with a sharply rising scale towards the largest developments. Examples of proposals that would trigger the new maximum fee include: housing developments of 427 units; a retail development of 13,000 sqm; or a 20 ha windfarm. With the changes mooted to be imposed within 6 months then any developers with major proposals in the pipeline may be best looking to lodge a Proposal of Application Notice over the next month or so in order to beat the fee increase.