Planning application fees increased

Planning application fees for all types of development will increase by 20 per cent from 1st April, a meeting of the council’s planning committee heard this week.

Chairman  Frank Robertson said the increase would be “across the board”.

He said it would only make a slight difference to the cost of building a house and would not nearly cover the costs of processing some larger planning applications.

According to head of planning Iain McDiarmid, planning application for an average-sized house is now around £319 and will increase by around £60. This will bring Scotland into line with the lowest charges made in England and Wales.

However at the top end of the scale, with planning applications for developments such as Total’s Shetland Gas Plant, the current maximum fee of £16,000 will go up to £19,000. Mr McDiarmid said this figure was “nowhere near” the true cost.

He said: “This does not cover the cost of processing larger projects. In England this would be a quarter of a million.”

Multi-million pound projects cost “significantly more” than £16,000 to process and monitor at all stages. Mr Robertson agreed with this, saying the work involved in processing and monitoring large complex applications was “vast”.

Every aspect of the environmental impact (produced in a study paid for by the applicant) has to be considered and all statutory consultees have to be approached. This includes the archaeological service, which comments on every application and has the power to stop the work.

More detail in this week’s Shetland Times.


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