Latest Public Sector News

07.12.17

Council planning departments set to miss out on £70m by end of year

The government must urgently bring forward funding for planning departments so that local authorities can process applications effectively, councils have warned today.

The LGA says councils will have missed out on £70m by the end of the financial year as they had been expecting to increase planning fees by 20% from July.

The organisation is now calling for this month’s Local Government Finance Settlement to include the ability for authorities to make this rise immediately.

Councils are also awaiting the results of a government consultation to allow fees to be raised by a further 20% after the initial increase.

In the Autumn Budget, the government affirmed its commitment to build 300,000 homes a year by the end of this parliament, with an additional £15bn pledged to housing schemes – bringing the total to £44bn over the next five years.

Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s Housing spokesman, said the government must improve the ability of planning departments to approve new developments if it is serious about its housing goals.

He explained: “The government has promised to increase planning fees, as a first step to helping speed up development, and we urge them to bring forward this increase as soon as possible - the upcoming local government finance settlement would be an ideal opportunity.

“Our planners both protect local environments and ensure appropriate and affordable homes are delivered for our communities. That’s why ultimately, council planners should be able to set fees that reflect the needs of their local area.”

There was some development on planning earlier this week, with the DCLG announcement of the first £11m that would be set aside in the Planning Delivery Fund.

In total there will be £25m released through the policy, which is intended to help councils gain the skills and capacity they need to deliver high quality housing growth at scale.

However, the LGA says councils need to see more control over their own ability to increase finances if the 300,000 homes a year figure is going to be met.

Top image: Rui Vieira

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