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Election / Planning fee increases welcomed

PLANNING fees across Scotland are set to rise at the start of next month.

This has been welcomed by upcoming council election candidate Stewart Douglas, who works in the construction industry.

“I would expect the increased income raised from planning fees to be invested in ensuring that our planning service becomes community-focused and fit for purpose,” he said.

It is the first time in eight years that there has been an increase to the standard planning application fees.

Local authorities will be able to decide how best to use any additional fee income to help improve locally planning services.

The fee for a new build will increase from £401 to £600 per house.

Locally the council’s planning service has been faced with a high workload in recent years due to a shortage of staff.

This has resulted in the department having to cut back some services.

However, Shetland Islands Council chief executive Maggie Sandison confirmed this week that a wider recruitment campaign has proven successful.

Meanwhile the Scottish Government is also due to appoint a new national planning improvement coordinator.

Scottish planning minister Tom Arthur said: “The planning system plays a central role in shaping the places where we live, work and access local services – and in delivering a just transition to a net-zero economy.

“Ensuring planning departments are efficient and effectively resourced is vital to realising our ambitions for Scotland and supporting recovery.

“That is why reviewing planning fees and performance is a key part of our planning reform programme.

“This is a significant change to planning fees, which will provide substantial additional income to authorities and help to move towards fully recovering the cost of dealing with planning applications.”

Had the proposed new charges been in place in the last financial year around £1.2 million would have been raised from householder applications in Scotland.