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Planning fee increases likely to go ahead

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Proposals to enable local authorities to increase planning fees by 20% are still likely to go ahead, communities secretary Sajid Javid has told outgoing District Councils Network chair Neil Clarke (Con).

While the Queen’s Speech did not contain anything specific relating to housing, LGC previously reported how many of the reforms contained in the housing white paper can still go ahead without new legislation.

Speaking at the DCN’s annual general meeting in Birmingham, Cllr Clarke told members: “The secretary of state has told me secondary legislation will allow things like [increasing] planning fees going ahead.”

The housing white paper, published earlier this year, had contained a commitment to increase fees by 20% “from July 2017” provided councils invest that money in their planning departments. That could be increased by another 20% if councils “are delivering the homes their communities need”, subject to consultation.

LGC previously reported how Cllr Clarke has been replaced as chair by South Norfolk Council’s John Fuller.

Cllr Fuller told members he did not want to have “a battle with our county colleagues” and added: “You get more with honey than vinegar.”

Cllr Fuller also thought a hung Parliament presented the sector with a “fabulous opportunity” to present solutions to the government.

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