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Calls from Powys to allow local authorities to set their own planning fees

PLANNING fees could go up in Powys if the Welsh Government allow the council to set its own prices.

Currently all 22 local authorities in Wales charge the same fees for the myriad of different types of planning applications. The charges are set out in Welsh Government planning legislation.

But Powys County Council planning chiefs want to lobby the government to be allowed to set their own fees.

A motion will be debated at a meeting on Thursday, December 7, where cabinet member for planning, Liberal Democrat Cllr Jake Berriman will ask all councillors to back his call to review the fee paying system.

The motion will be seconded by Conservative chairman of the Planning committee, Cllr Karl Lewis.

Cllr Jake Berriman – Powys County Council

Cllr Berriman will tell that the council has already written to Julie James MS, the Welsh Government minister for Climate Change, which includes the planning brief, and has not received a reply.

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Cllr Berriman said: “I am now seeking the added gravitas, which comes with the support of this council, to once again request that the Powys planning service be allowed to set its own fees to put it on a course for full cost recovery.

“Powys Council is transforming itself in an attempt to place service delivery on a sustainable footing and yet increased fee income, in a range of services including planning, is not an option without positive intervention from Cardiff.”

Cllr Berriman claims that the effect of phosphates on planning applications in parts of Powys, and that Welsh Government planning inspectors at PEDW (Planning Environment Department Wales) have taken over dealing with Developments of a National Significance (DNS) have “severely impacted” on planning fee income.

But work that does not pay a fee such as “enforcement” has been “buoyant” and contributes to “severe budgetary pressure,” in the department,

Cllr Berriman says that planning fees have been reviewed in England and will be increased from April next year.

Welsh Government – Minister for Climate Change – Julie James MS (Member of Senedd).

Cllr Berriman added: “A review in Wales is now needed to rebalance the charging regime to ensure that transgressors pay their way, as well as applicants, rather than the costs of enforcement falling on hard-pressed taxpayers.”

Cllr Berriman’s motion wants to: “Invite the minister to urgently review the fees regulations for Planning Services to allow for local fee setting and the delivery of the full cost recovery principle for development management, and to consider the following propositions:

The changes Cllr Berriman calls for are:

Planning application fees based on full cost recovery, amended annually in line with inflation.

No more free “second go” applications following withdrawal or refusal and should be replaced with a half price fee.

Doubling the fee for retrospective applications, where building has taken place without any planning permissions being sought.

Powers to fine a landowner that is in breach of planning but refuses to submit a retrospective application.

Remove the requirement to advertise individual planning applications in the print media or transfer the cost of doing so to applicants.

Planning authorities should not be required to submit a Local Impact Report for Developments of National Significance, nor should they be “required” to attend an examination in public.

Landowners promoting sites within the LDP (Local Development Plan) be required to pay an appropriate fee.

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