Planning application fees increased and charge for Article 4 applications introduced

Article 4 directives

Planning application fees increased and charge for Article 4 applications introduced recently as the government seeks increases and changes to the planning application fees charged in England with effect from 17th January 2018.

Across the board this means an increase of around 20%, with the fee for a Householder Application increasing to £206. As part of other changes charges are now introduced for planning applications required only because the normal national Permitted Development Rights have been removed by the local planning authority through the introduction of an Article 4 Direction.

One typical use of Article 4 Directions is to apply them in Conservation Areas to remove Householder Permitted Development Rights to make alterations such as replacing doors and windows. Previously, where such planning applications were required these were ‘exempt’ from a local planning authority fee – in the same way that Listed Building Consent is exempt from a planning fee.

This exemption is now removed and a Householder Application fee will be applied for such alterations required because of imposition of an Article 4 Direction. (Article 4 Directions are also increasingly used to restrict some types of permitted development to change the use of buildings, typically converting some classes of industrial commercial buildings to residential use).

Importantly the increased fees will be ‘ring fenced’ so that the additional monies must be spend on Council planning services. In response to a recent survey most Councils are saying the extra income will mostly go to increasing professional staffing resources dealing with planning applications; some are saying they will direct more senior staff into giving pre-application advice.

My hope is that more senior professional officer time is directed to giving useful authoritative pre-application advice including to householders and for routine Conservation Area applications. It remains to be seen whether the new fee encourages more LPAs to introduce Article 4 Directions?

It is currently estimated these apply in around 15% of all English Conservation Areas.

Full details on the new fees are available here

Written for us by
Michael Thornton MRTPI
Independent Planning Consultant – Merit Thornton Planning and Community Consultants Ltd”

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