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Last edited 09 Oct 2020
Planning applications are subject to fees which are usually payable to the local planning authority. Application fees can change from year to year, so it is important that the applicant or lead designer checks what the fee will be with the local planning authority.
Information about planning fees for England and Wales is available on the Planning Portal.
In 2013, new measures were introduced to refund fees if a planning application is not determined within 26 weeks. In addition, planning fees are now transferred to the Planning Inspectorate from the local authority if the local authority has been placed in special measures. The new requirement for planning applications for unlisted buildings in conservation areas, which replaces conservation area consent, remains free.
Some applications can now be made online, with an automated fee payment system. However, consultants acting as agents for the client in making planning applications have been reluctant to do this as they believe that paying the fees themselves and then charging the client can mean that the fee is subject to VAT.
However, HMRC has indicated that a planning professional acting as a client’s agent should be able to class the planning application fee as a ‘disbursement’ that is not subject to VAT. Further guidance is available on the HMRC website.
Planning permissions may also be subject to the community infrastructure levy and to planning obligations (section 106 agreements). Planning obligations can be used to mitigate or compensate for negative impacts of a development that might otherwise make them unacceptable. Planning obligations can have financial implications. The introduction of the community infrastructure levy should result in a scaling back in the imposition of planning obligations between now and 2014 (see Department for Communities and Local Government guidance for the relationship between the levy and planning obligations).
On 21 December 2017, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG, now MHCLG) announced new regulations to introduce a 20% increase in planning fees from 17 January 2018.
The regulations also introduced a new fee of £402 per 0.1 hectare for permission in principle applications and a fee of £96 for prior approval applications to permitted development rights. These include the rights for the installation of solar PV equipment on non-domestic buildings, the erection of click-and-collect facilities within the land area of a shop and the provision of temporary school buildings on vacant commercial land for state-funded schools. (Ref. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/670593/Chief_Planner_Newsletter_-_December_2017.pdf)
In July 2020, The Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee recommended that setting planning fees should be devolved to local authorities, with a national minimum rate.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Charge-out rate.
- Community infrastructure levy.
- Outline planning permission.
- Detailed planning permission.
- Planning appeal.
- Planning fees.
- Planning conditions.
- Planning obligations.
- Quantity surveyor’s fees.
- Statutory approvals.
- Statutory authorities.
- Design and access statements.
- Consultation process.
 External references
- Department for Communities and Local Government guidance on the relationship between the levy and planning obligations.
- Planning Portal: useful tools. Includes a fee calculator.
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