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In December the government announced a planning fee increase, along with a reduction in the Planning Guarantee for non-major planning applications to 16 weeks, from the previous 26 weeks.

The planning fee increase involves a 25% increase for all sites, with major developments increasing by 35%.

The changes to the planning guarantee means that fees are returnable on planning applications after 16 weeks if there is no agreed extension of time in place, dating from the 6 December 2023 commencement of the changes.

Chief Planning Officer Joanna Averley set out the planning fee increase in a letter to all planning departments in England, setting out the changes. Government expects that the increased fees will boost planning services as an improved source of income, leasing to an improved service.

The regulations that set out the increases are available online.

The regulations set out:

  • An increase in planning application fees by 35% for major developments and 25% for all other applications.
  • An new annual indexation of planning applications fees, capped at 10%, from 1 April 2025.
  • The removal of the free-go fee exemption for repeat applications. However, the free-go is still an option if an applicant’s application was withdrawn or refused in the preceding 12 months, subject to all other conditions being met.
  • A reduction in Reduce the Planning Guarantee for non-major planning applications from 26 to 16 weeks.
  • A new prior approval fee of £120 for applications for prior approval for
    development by the Crown on closed defence sites.
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