This is turning out to be another of those weeks! Today, DCLG has published a consultation on changes to the application fees regime. In essence, the proposal is that local planning authorities should be able to set their own fees for applications including exemptions. Research has shown that some local authorities recover more then their costs on fees whereas others do not. The proposal is that local authorities should recover their actual costs - but no more.
In addition, local authorities would be able to charge for some applications which currently do not attract a fee (reference is made specifically to applications submitted following a withdrawal or refusal which currently qualify for a "free go") - and a higher fee for retrospective applications.
If this allowed local authorities to make further investment in their planning service and the resources available to them, so that applications could be progressed more quickly, then it may be a move which should be supported - but as ever, you will have your own views!