Increased planning fees must equal better service, says Scottish Property Federation

David Melhuish
David Melhuish

The Scottish Government’s consultation in relation to fees and resources for major planning applications in Scotland has been hailed by the Scottish Property Federation (SPF) as a major turning point for local authority planning services around the country.

In its formal response to the consultation, the real estate industry body said it supports an increases in planning fees if it can lead to a more streamlined, effective and efficient planning service in Scotland.

David Melhuish, director of the Scottish Property Federation, said: “The public and private sectors have both been very clear about the need for more resourcing in local authority planning departments. We see the Scottish Government’s proposals to significantly increase fees and resources for major planning applications in Scotland as a major turning point to deliver a better planning service - if used wisely.

“SPF members have previously indicated a willingness to pay a higher planning fee, for a tangible improvement in performance by planning authorities. However, it is important that Scotland continues to remain competitive and these significantly increased planning fees must be used to deliver the critical improvements required in the planning service, such as an improvement in the speed and manner that major applications are deal with.

“Developers are already required to pay substantial sums far in excess of the planning fee for a range of technical reports and assessments. For a major development these costs can easily run into hundreds of thousands of pounds and are all prepared at risk to the private sector applicant, without any guarantee of a development being approved. It is important that we work with government to create a system which is not viewed by developers as prohibitive to development.

“We continue to work with the government to explore how other interventions can create a planning system to work in the interests of not just Scotland’s real estate sector, but also the communities across the country who rely on our industry to deliver jobs, investment and homes.”

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