Paying unnecessary fees for building applications

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As a retired architect I still find it interesting to go through planning applications submitted to Wealden District Council each week.

Recently the government made proposals to extend the scope of permitted development for a trial period in the hope of giving a boost to the construction industry. I note that many applications submitted are for minor extensions, conservatories, porches etc comfortably within the scope of the former permitted development regulations let alone the new proposals.

Why are folk making formal applications to Wealden District Council incurring a planning fee of around £200 including VAT. When I was in practice in the Cotswolds, if we had clients wanting small extensions within the regulations we simply sent drawings to the relevant authority, normally Cotswold DC or Cirencester DC, stating it was permitted development and asking them to confirm, which they invariably did. This obviated the need and cost of a formal application.

Given the government’s intention to give a boost to home owners, why does this district council not tell applicants that it is lawfully permitted development and return any fees they have paid. A nice little earner for the council?

Michael Clewitt