New charges for pre-planning application advicePublished Tuesday, 10th May 2016
Rotherham Council has introduced a charging system for pre-planning advice which helps applicants decide whether planning permission is required and if it is likely permission would be granted.
The changes follow a local government health check which found the planning services offered by the Council to be to be in the top 10 local authorities nationally for the services it provides to customers, but the Council was not covering its costs for providing advice to customers.
Rotherham Council’s Director of Planning, Regeneration and Culture Paul Woodcock said: “The pre-application service offers clear, impartial and professional advice to applicants before they submit a planning application. This process is encouraged by Government as an essential part of the planning process. Other local authorities such as Sheffield and Barnsley already charge for this service.
“In introducing fees for advice for smaller developments - such as a home extension - we have looked at how much it actually costs to provide the advice. The fee we have agreed offers very good value for money compared to similar services offered by other authorities.”
Charges include a set fee of £72 for specific enquiries about house extensions, alterations or changing the use of a property, or £48 per hour for listed building advice. Charges for advice relating to larger developments starts from £300.
Paul added: “The pre-application process allows applicants to discuss whether planning permission is needed, to ask the Council to consider plans and whether they need to be amended before they are submitted, and to look at drawings. This can both speed up the process of an application and give more certainty to the application being approved.
“Given current local authority budget constraints, the Council can no longer afford to keep offering this valuable service for free. Ultimately, we are trying to save the customer time, as well as the disappointment of having a plan rejected that could have been avoided if only they had contacted us first.”