Council taxpayer subsidies to developers could stop

FEES for planning applications could double in a move that would mark the end of Exmouth taxpayers massively subsidising corporations like Tesco, property developers and home improvers.

FEES for planning applications could double in a move that would mark the end of Exmouth taxpayers massively subsidising corporations like Tesco, property developers and home improvers.

Budleigh councillor Ray Franklin, the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning was told by local government Minister Bob Neill that on average councils subsidised planning applications by up to 60 per cent.

Planning fees in East Devon range from �70 for a polytunnel to a maximum �250,000 for a massive development and he said the district council should strive to break even to alleviate the burden on the public purse.

At the development management committee planners backed a range of recommendations that could lead East Devon District Council setting their own planning fees instead of imposing that of Whitehall’s.


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It’s all part of the coalition Government’s drive to give local authorities more power to administer planning applications.

Other possible changes could see a higher rate for retrospective applications – an application after the work has been carried out.

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This could dissuade the minority of applicants who carry out work in the hope nobody notices in a bid to avoid paying a fee.

Other changes could include the power to allow applicants who have failed in their first attempt ‘a free go’ in any resubmission.

Development manager Ed Freeman said: “We could recoup more of the cost for applications from instead of from taxpayers.

“Up to now the shortfall has been met by the public purse.”

Cllr Ray Franklin said at a recent conference, also attended by Government ministers, it was revealed that the average planning fee in the UK was �370;

“The actual cost is closer to �896,” he said.

“Increasing planning fees would fall far short of making money but would be a neutral costing.”

One possible drawback of increasing fees is that more people could take a risk and develop without paying a fee hoping they would get away with it.

But the report added that most solicitors now demanded ‘the relevant paperwork’ for any works to buildings: “…encouraging people, to think twice about undertaking works with having the relevant consents in place.”

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