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24 December 2017 09:09:20 |Finance,Government,News,NFU,Property News

'Excessive' planning fees due to increase by 20 percent in early 2018

The NFU says farmers already pay considerable fees

The NFU says farmers already pay considerable fees

Planning fees are due to increase by 20 percent in early 2018 as local authorities take advantage of new legislation.
Planning fees were set to increase by 20% from July, but is now poised to come into effect in the new year. The National Farmers Union (NFU) has labelled it as 'unwelcome news'.
The changes will allow local planning authorities to charge additional fees for all types of applications.
The NFU says farmers already pay considerable fees. For example, fees for agricultural buildings are based on the floor space and range from £80 to £250,000.
It says the government did not recognise this when they assessed evidence from the Rural Planning Review.

Excessive fees
Local authorities have pushed for the increase as it should allow them to apply more staff.
But the NFU said this would be a welcome move if it helps reduce the amount of time farm planning applications take to be processed.
Many farmers have been reporting three to six months rather than 8 weeks for their applications to be determined.
While the NFU cannot stop the government bringing in the fee increase, it will be lobbying further on this issue as "excessive fees" will put farmers off from applying for permissions.
It said that simpler planning rules benefit farmers and reduce local authority workloads so they don’t need to charge more.
Rural growth

Ineffective planning policies and budget cuts have been blamed for the lack of rural economic growth.
According to speakers at the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants (BIAC) conference in October, there are a number of challenges in rural development.
Although the Government introduced permitted development rights to make it easier for landowners to convert redundant farm buildings into residential or commercial use, the process has been labelled as restrictive, meaning few developments are going ahead.
Indeed, latest figures show that 49% of the applications for permitted development rights to convert redundant agricultural buildings into new homes were refused in the last quarter from July to September 2017, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
“Planning barriers put people off investment,” explained Ross Murray, then president of the Country, Land and Business Association (CLA).
Four-fifths of landowners want to invest more in rural development, but poor understanding of rural needs among planning departments is a real concern, according to the CLA.
“Too often planning is a triumph of process over outcome,” Mr Murray said.


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