2.1 This report presents an overview of findings from an analysis of responses to the Scottish Government's consultation on raising planning fees.
The Consultation process
2.2 The consultation follows an independent review of planning fees, which recommended a substantial increase in fees for major applications to support a move towards full cost recovery. The consultation document sets out proposals for a new maximum fee for major applications across most categories of development of £125,000, and a maximum of £62,000 for applications for permission in principle. It is also proposed that a reduced per unit or per hectare charge is introduced for developments over a size threshold, to ensure that applicants in Scotland do not pay more than they would in other administrations.
2.3 The consultation asks a single question - "As a first stage, do you agree with the proposed maximum fee level?" - including a closed Yes/No element and also inviting written comment. The consultation ran to 27 February 2017.
Overview of written submissions
2.4 The final number of submissions received was 124. Of these, 96 were submitted by group respondents (77% of all respondents) and 28 by individual members of the public including some who appeared to have a detailed understanding of the planning system. A profile of respondents by type is provided below.
Table 1: Overview of Consultation Respondents
|Businesses & developers, including…||37||30%|
|Business/developer membership organisations||7||6%|
|Planning authorities/other public sector bodies||27||22%|
|Professional firms & consultants||14||11%|
|Professional bodies & academics||4||3%|
|Third sector organisations||7||6%|
|Group respondents (total)||96||77%|
Figure 1: Breakdown of Consultation Respondents
2.5 Respondents were grouped into nine broad respondent types based on their role - eight types for group respondents, and one for individuals. A full list of group respondents is provided as an Annex to this report, and the main points to note about the composition of the groups are:
- Businesses and developers - 37 respondents across the 3 business sub-groups and representing a diverse range of organisation sizes and type. The largest group was comprised of developers and other businesses with a focus on residential housing development (18 responses). In addition, responses were received from businesses linked the energy industry (12 responses). The 7 'Other' business respondents varied in terms of the sector in which they operate and included 4 with a focus on construction materials and aggregates.
- Business/developer membership organisations - 7 respondents including representative bodies for specific industries or sectors, and bodies with a broader focus such as chambers of commerce.
- Planning authorities and other public bodies - 27 respondents including 24 planning authorities and 3 other organisations ( COSLA, Heads of Planning Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland).
- Professional firms and consultants - 14 respondents including a mix of planning professions, law firms and property agents.
- Professional bodies and academics - 4 respondents, namely the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland, and the University of Glasgow
- Third sector organisations - 7 respondents including a mix of national and local/regional bodies, and some with a specific conservation or environmental focus.
- Individuals - 28 responses from members of the public.
2.6 Scottish Government required an independent analysis of the consultation responses and Craigforth were commissioned. We were passed full copies of all the responses and have undertaken the analysis work. The main role of the Scottish Government's Building Standards Division has been to give feedback on the breakdown of the groups and on factual issues.
2.7 The remainder of this report presents an analysis of all submissions. This includes the balance of views on the "closed" Yes/No question by respondent group, and a summary of key issues raised by written responses. Our analysis has sought to identify key motivations for Yes/No responses, views on specific elements of proposals for increased in planning fees, and any modification or alternatives suggested by respondents. The report also highlights where views or suggestions are specific to one or more respondent types.
2.8 It should be noted that the purpose of the report is to reflect the balance and range of views expressed through the consultation. It does not seek to provide any policy recommendations.
Email: Chief Planner
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
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