The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2014 were laid before the Scottish Parliament on 1 August 2014. When approved, they will amend the principal fee regulations (The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) (Scotland) Regulations 2004) through insertion of revised fee rates for the various categories of planning application.

The new rates will come into force from 1 November 2014 and will be applicable to all planning applications made on or after that date.

The effect will be an approximate 5% across the board increase on current application fees and maximum application fees. For example:

  • The application fee for full planning permission for residential development will be £401 (currently £382) for each 0.1 hectare of the application site, subject to a maximum of £20,055 (currently £19,100);
  • The application fee for minerals development will be £202 (currently £192) for each 0.1 hectare of the application site, subject to a maximum of £30,240 (currently £28,800); and
  • The application fee for an extension to an existing house will be £202 (currently £192).

Following a period of legislative change, promoting improved performance in the planning system is a key focus for the Scottish Government. Adequate resourcing at a time of considerable pressure on local authority budgets is one element and the up-rating of application fees will be the second increase in 18 months. The current fees, introduced on 6 April 2013, provided for an approximate 20% increase on the previous rates.

Since 2012, planning authorities have been measured against a Planning Performance Framework which describes the outcomes to be delivered by a high-performing planning authority and defines key indicators of performance. Our recent e-update on Planning Performance Statistics for 2013-14 discusses recent trends.

From 30 June 2014 the Scottish Ministers also have the power to amend the principal fee regulations to make provision for different fees to be payable to different planning authorities, where the Scottish Ministers are satisfied that planning functions are not being performed satisfactorily. However the Scottish Government emphasises positive support for continuous improvement by poorer performing authorities and it is unlikely that this power will be exercised in the near future.