East Anglia: CLA’s planning fees rise fears

LANDOWNERS’ leaders have slammed plans to increase planning fees by 15%, claiming it will “damage the viability of the rural economy”.

Country Land and Business Association (CLA) East director Nicola Currie said the “excessive” increase would discourage rural businesses from putting forward planning applications to improve the profitability of their countryside-based businesses.

The Government’s announcement of an additional 15 % of application fees will hit rural businesses of all types very hard, especially at this time of economic austerity,” she said. “The long-term economic sustainability of this important part of the economy would be badly affected by this draconian idea.”

Mrs Currie said that CLA members run a wide range of businesses including agricultural, tourism and commercial ventures – around 250 different types of rural business.

“The quality of the eastern counties’ countryside is vital to our members and frequently brings them into contact with the planning system. Most planning objectives for rural areas - economic, social and environmental - rely on landowners and managers for their success.

“The application fee is only part of the cost of obtaining planning permission and already too many viable projects to boost rural economic growth are lost due to high costs.”