What do you need to know about the planning fees increase?

An increase in planning fees has into force from 6 December 2023 for major and on non-major applications. Local planning authorities have been asked by the Government to update their websites to reflect the changes to planning fees.

What does this mean?

  • There is an increase in planning application fees by 35% for applications for major developments* and 25% for all other applications.

  • There is an annual rise in panning fees from April 2025 capped at 10%. This means that planning fees will rise annually with inflation from the date above.

  • Repeat applications (the ‘free-go’) are no longer exempt from fees. An application will still be able to benefit from a ‘free-go’ if their application was withdrawn or refused 12 months before 6 December 2023.

  • Planning Guarantee for non-major planning applications is reduced from 26 to 16 weeks. This means that non-major applications (this includes additions to a house) that are still undetermined can receive a refund after 16 weeks.

*What is a major application?

As defined in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) a major development is: ‘For housing, development where 10 or more homes will be provided, or the site has an area of 0.5 hectares or more. For non-residential development it means additional floorspace of 1,000m2 or more, or a site of 1 hectare or more, or as otherwise provided in the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015.’

Does the FMB support a rise in planning fees?

There is a clear need for extra resourcing in planning teams and this is well understood by FMB members. However directly in relation to house building, the market is in a poor state with only 10% of new homes delivered by SMEs house builders, compared to historic figures of around 40% in the late 1980s.

There are also wider issues at play like the rise in costs from new regulations and a well evidenced poor relationship with the planning system and planning teams. We made clear to Government that should there be an increase that it is levied directly from Government funds. Given that this is not the case we strongly advocate that planning fees should be ring fenced to ensure that planning teams can be properly resourced.

Where can I find out more? 

Further information can be found on the planning portal and local planning authorities should have published information regarding the increase in planning fees for your area.

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