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Businesses to be charged for planning advice in national park

This is an archived press release

Friday 6 December 2013

The Peak District National Park Authority is to follow other local authorities in charging businesses for pre-application planning advice.

The move comes after stringent Government cuts which have meant a 30 per cent reduction in the national park authority's budget from 2011-2015.

Authority members agreed the following charges for pre-application advice for businesses from April 2014:

  • Between £100 and £1,000 for advice on open-market housing applications, depending on the number of homes.
  • £45 per hour for advice on large developments, such as hotels, industrial or commercial schemes.
  • £100 for most agricultural developments.
  • Between £100 and £250 for minor commercial proposals such as change of use or telecommunications installations. If advice is needed beyond a meeting and report, it would be charged at £45 an hour.
  • £100 for advice on proposed advertisement billboards or signs.
  • £100 for advice on developments which need to be notified for prior approval. This is required for minor developments that no longer need planning permission, such as some types of solar panels and changes of use from offices to housing.

Householders will not be charged for pre-application advice for domestic properties, including applications for listed building consent.

The authority will also introduce the option of Planning Performance Agreements from April 2014. These are usually for major proposals where the planning authority, developer and key interested parties agree to work together through the planning process, setting their own timetable.

It is a much more collaborative process which means potential problems can be ironed out as they arise and is more likely to result in planning applications that can be approved by the authority.

Payments for Planning Performance Agreements will be set between £1,000 and £5,000 per agreement.

Planning committee chair Cllr Lesley Roberts said: "Seven out of 10 of our neighbouring local authorities already charge for pre-application advice, and most English national park authorities are considering it or do so already.

"It makes sense for developers to pay for advice that is tailored to their particular scheme and on which they can rely to help them achieve an application that is more likely to be approved. It also makes sense for us in terms of encouraging developments that are beneficial for the national park.

"We understand these are difficult economic times for many businesses, but this system will give them more clarity about the process and help them understand how to get the best outcome for themselves and the national park.

"Charging businesses for pre-application advice will still not cover our costs, but it will help us to operate a higher quality planning service in a time of severe budget cuts."

This is an archived press release

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