Dec 162016
 
PPD December 2016 Scottish Planning News
 

Welcome to PPD December 2016 Scottish Planning News.
We wish all our clients and friends a Happy Christmas and a prosperous and successful new year.

Consultation on an increase in planning fees

 

The Government gave the development industry a Christmas surprise by publishing a consultation paper which advocates a substantial increase in planning fees.  The origins of this came from the independent review of the Scottish planning system which was published earlier in the year (see our June News), one of the suggestions from which was that fees for larger development proposals should reflect the fact that these applications require more staff time to process, and therefore should rise significantly.

It is noticeable that none of the more positive and creative suggestions of the Review appear to have been progressed so far.

The suggested new fees retain the ‘lower end’ of the present structure, but significantly raise the maximum fees.  However, there would be a lower ‘per unit’ rate per increment once the present maxima had been reached.  This table indicates the increases.  Fee rates not mentioned would not be the subject of an increase.

  Present fee Proposed fee
Planning Permission in Principle (PPP) applications £401 per 0.1ha up to £10,028 (maximum fee payable) £401 per 0.1ha up to £10,028

Thereafter, £100 per 0.1ha up to £62,500 (maximum fee payable)

Full applications –

Housing

£401 per unit up to £20,055  (maximum fee payable) £401 per unit up to £20,050 (50 units)

Thereafter, £200 per unit up to £125,000  (maximum fee payable)

Full applications –

Other buildings

£401 per 75 sq. m. gross floorspace up to £20,055 (maximum fee payable) £401 per 75 sq. m. floorspace up to £20,055 (3750 sq. m.)

Thereafter, £200 for each 75 square metres up to £125,000 (maximum fee payable)

Full applications –

Plant and machinery

£401 per 0.1 hectares up to £20,050 (maximum fee payable) £401 per 0.1 hectares up to £20,050

Thereafter £200 per 0.1 hectare up to £125,000 (maximum fee payable).

Full applications –

Change of use to dwelling houses

£401 for each additional dwellinghouse up to £20,055 (maximum fee payable) £401 for each additional dwellinghouse up to £20,050

(50 dwellinghouses)

Thereafter £200 per unit up to £125,000 (maximum fee payable)

Full applications –

Change of use: waste and minerals

£202 per 0.1 hectares up to £30,240 (maximum fee payable) £202 per 0.1 hectares up to £30,240

Thereafter £100 per 0.1 hectare up to £125,000 (maximum fee payable)

Full applications –

Change of use: other buildings or land

£401 Not stated (presume no change)

 

This marks a change in the approach to fee increases by the Government.  Previously, increases were to be justified by improved performance.  Statistics released by the Government in October (see www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/07/6839) showed that major developments (those which the fee increases will most likely affect), taking 13 weeks longer than the previous period.  The average decision time was 39.3 weeks, when the statutory time for a major application is 16 weeks.  The Government’s approach now seems to be to allow higher fees  first, then to expect better performance. 

This is just the start.  The consultation paper states: “We will be considering wider changes to the fee structure, including scope for further discretionary charging taking account of changes to the planning system flowing from the review”.  It also re-iterates the view of the Scottish Ministers “that any increase in fees must be linked to sustained improvements in performance”.

Full details of the consultation can be read at :

https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/planning-architecture/consultation-on-raising-planning-fees

Responses to the consultation must be in by 27th February 2017.

Plan too slow, housing supply too low

 

Several Local Development Plan examinations, after prolonged plan-preparation periods, have found that the proposed plan lacks the required “generous supply of housing land”.  Approval of the Edinburgh Local Development Plan in November by the Government brought these issues into sharper focus.  Significant quotes in the approval letter from the Minister for Local Government and Housing are:

“My decision not to intervene in this plan will enable its adoption and provide communities and investors with a greater degree of confidence about the future development of Edinburgh.  However this decision has not been made lightly, and I must stress my dismay at the very significant issues with timing and content that have arisen.”

“The City’s first LDP has been in preparation since 2011, yet it is only being adopted now.  Not only has the plan period been lengthy, but at the end of the process the Reporter has found that it contains a shortfall in the housing supply of over 7000 homes”

“In failing to provide an appropriate supply of land for housing, the opportunity for planning to support the continuing growth of Scotland’s capital city is being missed.”

“Significant changes late in the process reduces the transparency on which trust and confidence is built.”

“It is unacceptable that uncertainty is introduced by Council motions and late support for changes which are significantly different to the published Proposed Plan.  This effectively passes responsibility to others and falls short of provide a fair and transparent planning service to members of the public who have engaged in the process in good faith”.

Strong words!

West and East Lothian, the last Local Development Plans in Scotland to be prepared, are at last progressing towards examination stage.

 

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