Data shows planning applicants rushed to apply ahead of planning price rise

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Large developers made a last-minute dash to make planning applications ahead of the December 6 fee increase, according to the December Market Insight Report.

Large developers made a last-minute dash to make planning applications ahead of the December 6 fee increase, according to the December Market Insight Report by Planning Portal, part of TerraQuest.

On 6 December 2023, the government implemented an increase of 25% on all planning application fees across the board with a 35% rise for larger schemes.

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The last week in November and first week of December saw a significant spike with almost 26,000 submissions. For the last month of the year, 42,028 applications were made through the Planning Portal.

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From the 1 to 31 of December, Planning Portal saw a record-breaking value of processing fees, totalling nearly £33 million. The single largest total value since the introduction of the payment system in 2018, this surge is attributed to the rise in larger-scheme full and outline applications made ahead of December 6.

Regionally, only the West Midlands saw an increase in December of 1%. Most areas received fewer applications, with the East of England, South East, and Yorkshire experiencing a 7% decline in comparison to 2022.

Cornwall Council saw the highest volume of applications with 9,059 alongside North Yorkshire which came in second with 8,166. Of the authorities receiving more than 200 applications during 2023, Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation saw the largest percentage increase throughout the year with 39% compared to 2022.

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A joint venture between TerraQuest and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC), Planning Portal’s Market Insight Reports allows for observations to be made on the application trends throughout the UK.

Sarah Chilcott, Managing Director at Planning Portal said: “Our market insight report shows that in December 2023, developers made a conscious effort to submit their applications ahead of the government’s 35% price increase.

“Albeit a positive month, overall December 2023 saw a 4% decline in the number of planning applications made in comparison to 2022. Although this may be the case, we can attribute the record number of processed fees to developers making a last-minute dash to make their applications before December 6. This may have been a fewer number overall, but their value was significantly higher than we’ve seen previously.”

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities confirmed the minimum 25% fees increase in November 2023 to further the amount of investment in planning services at local authorities across the country. Aiming to improve the overall service, the further contributions will help reduce the planning backlog and ensure decisions are made within the eight-week deadline.

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Sarah continued: “With planning fees expected to rise up to 10% each year from April 2025, we can certainly expect this trend to repeat itself as homeowners and businesses seek out the cheaper option.”

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