Resource the planning system to add value

The planning system must be resourced to add value.  It must have the resources it needs to deliver (money, staffing, information, intelligence, and systems); be organised to be fit for purpose and efficient; and have skills required.

Planning fees should cover the full cost of processing planning applications, including supporting tasks such as development planning.

Planning fees should be ring-fenced to ensure that monies support the planning service.

New models of income generation for planning authorities should be explored, looking at potential in terms of pre-application (i.e. advice); in processing the application (i.e. fees); and in post approval (i.e. discharging conditions, Section 75s).

 

Why the contribution is important

There has been close to a 20% reduction in planning department staff in Scotland since 2010

Gross expenditure in planning authorities will have dropped by £40 million between 2010/11 and 2015/16

Tthe cost of processing planning applications are not met by fees – on average only 63% of costs are covered

 

by CraigMcLaren on January 29, 2016 at 04:15PM

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Comments

  • Posted by kdonnelly February 03, 2016 at 09:11

    I agree. I would also add that more needs to be done to help 'young' planners build on their their degrees, in order to gain the skills necessary for working successfully in planning. From my observations, this is particularly relevant for local authority young planners. This could include enabling attendance at CPD events (cost, time etc.) and more mentoring opportunities, for example.
  • Posted by EdgeOfCentre February 05, 2016 at 23:51

    Very much agree with this. One aspect I would suggest is looked at is the paper 'site notice'. This would appear to be an inordinate waste of time for planning support staff going round tying these paper notices to railings or lampposts for them them to be ripped down or blown away shortly after being put up. Albeit this article focusses on planning in London, it makes a similar point. http://www.theguardian.com/[…]0-town-planning-development If the site notice is to be kept as a means of informing people of development then this too should be costed as part of the process.
  • Posted by garymcgovern February 12, 2016 at 15:49

    Craig, I would agree with this to a certain extent.

    Certainly planning fees should be ring-fenced and invested in the delivery of the planning service. To the extent fees have gone up in recent years, it does not appear to me that planning departments have seen the benefit.

    Where I'm less convinced is the notion of aiming towards some form of “full cost recovery”. This strikes me as potentially unrealistic, but also does this concept not ignore the potential wider benefits of planning to communities and society as a whole, and infer that only developers benefit from its outputs? I think we need to recognise that a successful planning system drives economic growth and delivers wider benefits for society in general, hence it must be properly funded, but not by developers alone.

    As for new models of income generation, I would agree this should be looked at. As with increased fees, it does however raise the question of whether this can be linked to service levels and ensure a tangible output.

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