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As of 6th December 2023, fees for planning applications are set to increase in England by a minimum of 25% following legislative amendments to the 2012 Fees Regulations approved by Parliament earlier this year. 

The change comes as the new Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) Regulations 2023, made on 8th November, comes into effect on 6th December 2023. 

The Regulations set an increase in planning application fees by 25% across the board, rising to a 35% increase for applications for major development. Applications impacted include:

  • Planning permission (including Full and Outline permission);
  • Reserved Matters;
  • Removal/Variation of Conditions (Section 73 applications);
  • Non-Material Amendments (Section 96a applications)
  • Lawful Development Certificates;
  • Prior Approvals;
  • Advertisement; and
  • Permission in Principle.

The table below provides a comparison of pre and post-6th December application fees, for example development proposals:

Example DevelopmentCurrent Planning FeePlanning fee from 6 December 2023
Residential Development – Alterations/Extensions Single Dwelling



Residential Development – Erection of <10 Dwellings

£462 per dwelling

£578 per dwelling

Residential Development – Erection of 10-50 Dwellings

£462 per dwelling

£624 per dwelling

Residential Development – Erection of >50 Dwellings

£22,850 + £138 per dwelling in excess of 50 (capped at max fee)

£30,860 + £186 per dwelling in excess of 50 (capped at max fee)

Erection of Buildings – More than 3,750sqm

£22,859 + £138 for each additional 75sqm (or part thereof) in excess of 3,750sqm
(capped at max fee)

£30,680 + £186 for each additional 75sqm (or part thereof) in excess of 3,750sqm
(capped at max fee)

Change of Use (Excluding Dwellings)



Lawful Development Certificate (Existing Use or Operation)

Same as Full

Same as Full

Lawful Development Certificate (Proposed Use or Operation)

Half the normal planning fee

Half the normal planning fee

Maximum Application Fee



The updated Regulations have also removed the provisions for a “free-go” afforded to resubmissions of certain applications. The Regulations do, however, specify a transitional arrangement whereby applications which already qualify for a submission with no application cost associated with it remain eligible to retain their “free-go”. For example, if an application is to be submitted on or after 6th December by the same applicant for a development of the same character as an application which has been withdrawn or refused within 12 months, the application fee will remain nil. If an application is withdrawn or refused on or after 6th December, the “free-go” rule will no longer apply, and the resubmission will attract the full application fee.

The Regulations have also introduced an annual inflation-linked rise in fees to take place every April. However the increase will be capped at 10% and will only commence from April 2025. 

The final notable amendment for the majority of applicants introduced by the Regulations is the tightening of the “planning guarantee”. Currently, applicants are potentially entitled to a refund if an application has not been decided within 26 weeks. However, the Regulations reduce this to 16 weeks for non-major applications – a clear positive for a number of applicants - albeit this could potentially lead to Councils looking to refuse applications in order to avoid refund claims.

The planning and development team at Montagu Evans act for a range of clients across the country and are aware of the immense pressure that Local Authorities have been under in recent years. In the London Boroughs, in particular, the use of Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs) is becoming standard practice to ensure more appropriate resourcing for applications – at significant cost to the applicant. The expectation from the Government is that the application fee rise will see Local Authorities providing accurate and sufficient advice at the pre-application stage to avoid the requirement to utilise a “free-go”. 

Whilst the uplift in application fees will add a further cost to applicants, we believe the majority are supportive of the rise so long as it results in additional resources for Local Planning Authorities and more timely decision-making, with time being one of the most expensive elements in new development. Only time will tell whether the increase in planning fees will have a positive impact on the service applicants are ultimately provided.


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