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Decision details

Planning Service Income Activities

Decision Maker: Co-operative Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Purpose:

a)    Currently several areas of work across Planning do not achieve cost recovery.

b)    Previously agreed process to fund Neighbourhood Planning work has not been successful.

c)    Action is needed to address these matters in part to deliver on the proposals set out in Planning MER 476.

 

a)    To update fees and charges on a cost-recovery basis, and subsequently increase these annually to reflect inflation for:

 

  • The Planning pre-application service carried out by Development Management.
  • Charges within the Building Control Service.
  • The Planning Searches function undertaken by the Administrative HUB.

 

b)    To update funding arrangements in order to support a full-time post dedicated to the development of Neighbourhood Plans.

 

Fees and charges related to the above activities have not been reviewed for some time and can mean that the service costs more to deliver than is received in fees.

 

Previously agreed mechanisms for funding Neighbourhood Planning work have not allowed for a dedicated resource to be put in place. An alternative approach is needed to bring greater continuity to the role.

 

 

Decision:

9.1

Fees and charges related to several activities carried out by the Planning Service and Place Hub have not been reviewed for some time and this results in a service which costs more to deliver than is received in fees.

 

Previously agreed mechanisms for funding Neighbourhood Planning work have not allowed for a dedicated resource to be put in place. An alternative approach is needed to bring greater continuity to the role.

 

This report reviews the following matters:

-       The charges for pre-application advice in relation to Town Planning matters;

-       The need to introduce an administrative fee for the receipt of applications not lodged via the Planning Portal to reflect the additional administrative burden that this results in;

-       The charges levied for the Planning Searches function undertaken by the Place Hub; and

-       The funding regime for Neighbourhood Planning work.

 

The proposed changes will better reflect the actual cost of the delivery of these services and are in places fundamental to help deliver the proposals set out in the Planning Service Restructure (MER 476).

 

It is proposed to update fees and charges to more closely reflect the actual cost of the service provided (balanced against a benchmarking exercise to ensure that the charges are not at odds with the charges levied in other Core Cities) and to build in a mechanism to update the fees on an annual basis in line with inflation.

 

In relation to Neighbourhood Planning, it is proposed to update the funding arrangements in order to support a full-time post dedicated to the development of Neighbourhood Plans by seeking approval to use Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) income to provide dedicated neighbourhood planning support to local communities to develop their neighbourhood plans.  This represents the implementation of the Cabinet decision 8.2(a) taken on 17 October 2018.

 

 

9.2

RESOLVED: That Co-operative Executive:-

 

 

  1. Approve the Head of Planning’s recommendation to use the 10% of CIL neighbourhood portion funding that has/will be retained to support the development of neighbourhood plans (in accordance with the Cabinet decision of 17 October 2018) to fund one full-time post in the Planning Service dedicated to supporting local communities in developing their neighbourhood plans;

 

  1. Approve that the schedule of pre-application fees set out in Appendix 1 be introduced on 01 April 2022;

 

  1. Approve that the Director of City Growth (or future equivalent role) has authority to make future changes to pre-application charges in line with the time recording data analysed on an annual basis;

 

  1. Approve the administrative fee for receiving planning and building control applications which are not submitted on the national Planning Portal and the increased expedited Planning Search Fees, as set out in the report, be introduced on 1 April 2022; and

 

  1. Approve that all of these fees can be increased on an annual basis in line with inflation.

 

 

9.3

Reasons for Decision

 

 

9.3.1

The proposal in relation to CIL being used to support Neighbourhood Planning will implement the Cabinet decision of October 2018. It will help to support the production of new neighbourhood plans, a function that is a statutory requirement for the Council. It will support the Council’s approach to ensuring people can get involved in making a difference to their local communities.  This is in line with the implementation of the new One Year Plan and Local Area Committees (LACs) that will put decision making at the heart of local areas and bring decision making closer to local people. The proposals that were previously consulted upon received broad support during public consultation.

 

 

9.3.2

The proposal to increase fees in relation to discretionary areas of service will help support a properly resourced Planning Service which is better equipped to deliver on the Council’s objectives of promoting sustainable development; delivering economic, social and environmental improvements; helping to build a strong economy; supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities; at the same time as trying to mitigate and adapt to climate change whilst also protecting and enhancing Sheffield’s natural, built and historic environment. 

 

 

9.4

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

9.4.1

As the CIL funding is already ring-fenced to neighbourhood planning, the only other options are to use it to support neighbourhood planning in an alternative way.  However, as the Council is the statutory body responsible for supporting neighbourhood plans and approving them, the best option is for the Council to use the CIL resources to help carry out its statutory function by creating an additional post within the Planning Service.

 

 

9.4.2

The only other option in relation to the proposals to increase discretionary fees across the board would be to reduce the level of service currently provided or to stop some discretionary services altogether. This would result in the loss of revenue, a consequent need to reduce staff numbers and a major reduction in the quality of service to members of the public and business customers at a time when demands are already exceeding expectations.

 

 

9.5

Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted

 

 

 

None

 

 

9.6

Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration

 

 

 

None

 

 

9.7

Respective Director Responsible for Implementation

 

 

 

Executive Director, Place

 

 

9.8

Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In

 

 

 

Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee

 

Report author: Michael Johnson

Publication date: 21/02/2022

Date of decision: 16/02/2022

Decided at meeting: 16/02/2022 - Co-operative Executive

Effective from: 26/02/2022

Accompanying Documents: