Farmers are being urged to get any planning applications into their local authorities as soon as they can, as planning fees are set to increase by 20% from this summer.
Most local planning authorities will be putting up fees from July onwards. However, if an application has been received by the local planning department before then and is valid (the local authority has the information it needs to assess the application), then the current fees should apply.
The NFU is advising farmers to ensure the planning authority issues a receipt to acknowledge they have received your application.
The union described the price hike as ‘an unwelcome step for many farmers’, who already pay considerable fees. For example fees for agricultural buildings are based on the floor space and range from £80 to £250,000. This is on top of fees to agents to put together applications.
It accused the Government of failing to recognise this when they assessed NFU evidence from the Rural Planning Review.
The union said: “The Government is suggesting the additional money can be used to fund planning departments and it will consult on increasing fees further for local planning authorities who can show they are reforming their service and committing to performance improvements.
“While NFU cannot stop the government bringing in the July fee increase, we will be lobbying further on this issue as excessive fees will put members off from applying for permissions. Simpler planning rules benefit farmers and reduce local authority workloads so they don’t need to charge more.”