William Eichler 22 November 2023

Autumn Statement: Councils to be able to recover planning costs

Autumn Statement: Councils to be able to recover planning costs image
Image: Zoltan Fabian / Shutterstock.com.

Councils will be able to recover the costs of business planning applications in return for being required to meet faster timelines, the Chancellor said in the autumn statement.

Mr Hunt also confirmed people living near new pylons and electricity substations will receive up to £10,000 off energy bills over a decade.

The Chancellor told Parliament that it currently ‘takes too long to approve infrastructure projects’.

The new measures are aimed at fixing the 'outdated planning system' and preventing 'lengthy delays to connect to the electricity grid'.

The Government hopes to halve the time it takes to build new grid infrastructure to seven years.

Under the plan, local authorities will be able to claim back the costs of processing major business planning applications on the condition that they meet faster timelines.

If the planning authority fails to meet the guaranteed timelines, the fees will be automatically refunded.

‘A prompt service or your money back – just as would be the case in the private sector,’ he told Parliament.

The Government will also invest £5m to incentivise greater use of Local Development Orders in England, and a £110m Local Nutrient Mitigation Fund will be brought forward to deliver local nutrient offsetting schemes and ensure new housing developments can proceed.

Mr Hunt also announced changes to planning laws that will give homeowners permitted development rights to convert houses into two separate flats, so long as the property exterior is not changed.

Responding to the announcement, Localis chief executive, Jonathan Werran said: ‘[W]hile the news that council planning departments can reclaim more money for fast-tracking major infrastructure schemes is to be welcomed, from a localist perspective it remains perplexing that councils’ overstretched, and under-resourced planning departments should continually subsidise development at the expense of funding other vital local public services upon which residents depend.’

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