Weekend close-down for the Planning Portal so they can charge us £20 to submit planning applications online

We won’t be in the office on Saturday, this weekend, submitting planning applications for clients, as we sometimes do.  The Planning Portal will be unavailable to us from this evening until Monday morning.

The Portal will now send applications and payments to the relevant local authorities together, as soon as they have confirmed successful payment.  Previously, our clients could ring/pop in/send a cheque to the Council to pay their application fee.  Sometimes that fee made it straight to the planning department to be married-up with the pending application we submitted via the Portal; sometimes it didn’t.  But that didn’t happen very often

There will be a per-application charge for the service ( £16.67+VAT for any application which attracts a fee).  Applications where no fee is payable will be sent directly to the local authority with no service charge applied.

C2C Planning Consultants will not be absorbing this Portal fee and will be passing it on to our clients.  So, in addition to the increase in fees in January this year, the cost of submitting planning applications has increased once again!


The Planning Guarantee

Thank you to my colleagues at TLT for telling me in their very helpful bulletins that a recent High Court decision has clarified the “rules” for getting a client’s planning application fee back under the Planning Guarantee.

We have twice successfully applied to a couple of LPA’s to get our client’s application fee back (one being £13k!) and we would have to confess that one of them wouldn’t have comfortably sat with the outcome of the Provectus Remediation Ltd v Derbyshire County Council in its judgment of 8 June 2018.

The planning guarantee is the government’s policy that no application should spend more than a year with decision-makers, including any appeal. In practice this means that planning applications should be decided in no more than 26 weeks, allowing a similar period for any appeal. If a valid application is already being considered and it becomes clear that more time than the statutory period is genuinely required, then the local planning authority should ask the applicant to consider an agreed extension of time. Any such agreement must be in writing and set out the timescale within which a decision is expected.

The High Court decision makes clear that no refund of planning application fees will be due where:

  1. an extended deadline for determination of the application has been agreed in writing; and
  2. that extended deadline does beyond the 26-week period from submission of the application, after which a refund is normally due; even if the LPA fails to determine the application by the extended deadline.

We always think carefully when considering whether to agree to an extended determination period and have the 26 weeks period in mind.

Our colleagues at TLT expect the High Court decision to be clarified by further caselaw as the judge’s unfortunate choice of language leaves uncertain the position where an extension to the statutory period for determination is agreed but that extension does not exceed the 26-week refund period. Until such times as it is clarified, expert legal advice should be sought to avoid inadvertently giving up such a right.

World Cup Fever (apparently)

As we embark on this tournament, I think it is safe to say that “football fever” isn’t exactly gripping England.  Maybe the recent anti-plastic war is weighing heavily on motorists who haven’t put flags in windows, only for them to be scattered alongside the road when you get over 30mph.


That said, the BBC is reporting that  “a self-professed “mad football fan” has draped a huge flag across the front of his house to cheer on England in the World Cup.  John Jupp, from Blyton, Lincolnshire, said the flag measures 1,250 sq ft (116 sq m) in size and completely covers the front of his house.”


Now, I hate to be the dual nationality Party Pooper on your English parade Mr Jupp, but your flag doesn’t benefit from deemed advertisement consent!  You are going to need permission for that!

Still, by the time the Council’s enforcement team come knocking, it might be all over…it is now!

Good luck England!

Thought you were running out of time to submit that Class B8 building to a dwelling application?

Think again!

This morning the Housing Minister announced that to further support housing delivery, applicants will have a further year in which to benefit from the temporary permitted development right for the change of use of buildings used for storage and distribution to residential use. The right will be extended by a year until 10 June 2019.

Contact us to get started on your Prior Notification application.

Hit the 3 dwelling buffer with your Class Q conversions? Think again – look for up to 5!

The Housing Minister announced this morning that the General Permitted Development Order will be changed on the 6th April (only for a year) to allow the conversion of agricultural buildings for;

  • up to 3 larger homes within a maximum of 465 square metres or
  • up to 5 smaller homes each no larger than 100 square metres or
  • a mix of both, within a total of no more than 5 homes, of which no more than 3 may be larger homes.

So, if you have previously only been able to develop up to the previous 3 dwelling limit, give us a call to discuss how you might be able to benefit from this temporary extension for dwellings from agricultural buildings.  Time is of the essence!

Get ready for a 20% increase in application fees!


It is coming (so is Christmas), not yet, but it is surely coming – a rise in the fee payable to Council’s for them to determine you planning application.  For example;

  1. Outline applications – Site area up to 2.5 hectares = £385 £462 per 0.1
  2. New dwellings (Full and Reserved Matters applications) up to and including 50 – £385 £462 per dwelling.
  3. Householder extension(s) and alterations including design and external
    appearance, domestic outbuildings and works within curtilage of dwelling, boundary walls, fences and other means of enclosure –
    £172 £206 per one dwelling.
  4. Change of use of land or buildings – £385 £462 per application.
  5. Variation or removal of a condition(s) – £195 £234
  6. Approval of details required by conditions – £97 £116 per application (£28 £34 if a householder).

We are therefore expecting a bit of a rush to submit planning applications so please keep this in mind, and seek our advice on whether or not there is sufficient time to submit under the current fee schedule as soon as possible.



Mid Devon throttling back on pre-application advice and duty officer availability

As Mid Devon District Council (temporarily?) cut back their morning duty planning officer availability to only Tuesday and Thursday mornings, it leaves a bit of a whole for those seeking planning advice.

Whether or not you need planning permission is not really a service offered by large or small private planning consultants.

But good, clear advice is given via the Planning Portal.  Indeed, just this week the advice on their website has been re-organised, making it clearer for the lay-user.

So, if you need initial planning guidance, check these pages on the Planning Portal to help yourself before double-checking with the planning department.

Friday afternoon’s reading

Friday afternoon is a favoured time in the C2C office to catch up on some reading with a lovely mocha.

This article has crossed the desk – an irreverent and humorous look at planning and the role of Prior Notifications in the “housing crisis” published in “Planning and Building Control Today”.

We were going to have new housing, converted from each and every land use that was not housing to start with. Huge extensions to houses, factories, warehouses and loads of other freebies that would make the junior DC officer’s role redundant, except for their regular losing battle trying to understand and apply the Advert Regs. Said planners could be diverted to local plans, in an effort to get the Development Plan finished by 2011, no 2012, oh all right 2015, last chance 2017.

I nearly snorted the mocha out of my nose!

My thanks to Mr Thackeray for a rip-roaring read.  Enjoy and good weekends all round!



Ruin our thoughts of golf, cricket or mountain biking over the Spring/Summer!

Avoid the potential of 20% increased planning application fees in July by submitting your planning application by June.

Government recently announced that they  will increase nationally set planning fees. Local authorities will be able to increase fees by 20% from July 2017 if they commit to invest the additional fee income in their planning department.

They are also minded to allow an increase of a further 20% for those authorities who are delivering the homes their communities need.

While you keep more money in your pocket, we will keep our green fees in ours while we slave over a hot desk to get your planning application in before the significant rise in fees! Depending on the scale of the project, we will need to be instructed over the next 6 weeks, so don’t delay and contact us today.