This is an archived press release
Friday 6 February 2015
Charges for pre-application planning advice for householders intending to make changes to domestic properties are to be introduced in the Peak District National Park from April 1.
People planning to build extensions to their homes or make alterations, that need planning permission, will be able to get advice from planners to help inform their ideas. This does not guarantee approval, but incorporating the advice should help more people achieve positive decisions.
Peak District National Park Authority members decided today (February 6) to extend the existing charging scheme. The move will help bring in additional income to offset Government cuts that have reduced the national park's budget by 36% since 2011.
Many other local authorities already charge householders for pre-application advice.
Householder applications account for around one third of planning applications in the national park. Charges for pre-application planning advice for businesses and developers in the national park have been in place since April 2014 and are on target to achieve £20,000 income by the end of March 2015.
Advice on listed building works will still be free.
Cllr Lesley Roberts, chair of the national park said: "These are hard times financially and we have to make difficult decisions. Charging householders for pre-application advice will still not cover our costs, but it will help us operate a high quality planning service in a time of severe budget cuts."
Director of planning John Scott explained: "Householders will be paying for specialist advice that is tailored to their particular plans. The advice they receive will help them achieve an application that is more likely to be approved.
"It makes sense for householders and it makes sense for us in terms of encouraging developments that are beneficial for the national park.
"The £100 charge for advice is a relatively small part of the cost of any development and it is fairer to everyone that individuals should cover some of the planning cost involved rather than it being paid for by all tax payers."
The £100 fee, which includes VAT, will be reviewed annually.
The paid for pre-application advice includes opportunities for:
* planners to influence the proposal to provide a better development, particularly in terms of design and layout, to help applicants get it right first time;
* planners and householders to discuss the information required to accompany an application;
* liaison with other departments and consultees to identify any views and issues; and
* planners to suggest that an application should not be submitted if the proposal is wholly unacceptable.
Further information is available on the national park website at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/planning/advice