Back to all
This month (6th December) there will be significant changes to application fees and how applications are handled by local authorities.

With local authorities struggling with workloads and funding, this shake up of application fees has been designed in theory to help with these issues. Whether or not it does in practice will be another matter.

These new changes include the following:

  • Application fees in England have increased by 25% across the board, which will rise to 35% for major schemes based on the legislative interpretation of ‘major development’.
  • The provision of a ‘free go’ on application submissions in England has been removed, but for individual applications determined before 6th December this resubmission benefit will not change. This will see these exemptions fade out over the 12-month period after the amendment took effect.
  • A fee was introduced for the prior approval application required, as part of the permitted development rights for development by the Crown on a closed defence site’.

There will be an annual rise in application fees linked to inflation (capped at 10%) every April from 2025 onwards. It also tightens the planning guarantee so undetermined non-major applications will be eligible to receive a refund after 16 weeks, shortened from the 26-week period which remains ‘as is’ in all other cases.

What this means for applicants is that they will need to make sure that the architects they are appointing to undertake any planning application is aware of all these changes and how to manage them. For example, local authorities still have a major problem with training new planners especially in the technical guidance of permitted development. Where the local authorities have mistakenly determined applications in the past it was an easy fix to resubmit with the ‘free go’, whereas now applicants will have to pay for any local authority mistakes.

JETArch Design were invite to consult on the introduction of this new legislation and we strongly opposed the removal of the ‘free go’. Let us hope that the increase in fees for local authorities will be reinvested into training and resourcing to eliminate these problems.