West Berkshire Council

Start date: 2018-11-12
End date: 2018-12-23
Results: 2019-03-05

Budget Proposal 2019/20: Planning and Transport Policy Advice and Self-Build Register

Background

This is one of 14 budget proposals for 2019/20. You can view the full list online.

You can also view budget consultations from previous years.


Planning law requires that applications for planning permission are determined in accordance with the Core Strategy Development Plan Document, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

A material consideration is a matter that should be taken into account in deciding a planning application or on an appeal against a planning decision, for example:

  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
  • Loss of light or overshadowing
  • Parking
  • Highway safety
  • Traffic
  • Noise

The Planning and Transport Policy Team consists of eight officers (six Planning, two Transport) who currently spend time responding to queries. This can range from simple policy advice on two or three unit schemes, to advice on developments of over 100 from individual developers, landowners or agents who wish for their site to be promoted through the local plan process.


Legislation requirements

The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (in particular section 39) set the legal requirement for the production of spatial strategies.  Other legislation is also of relevance such as the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015.


What are we proposing?

To introduce the following charges:

(a) From 1 April 2019, any request to meet with policy officers (transport or planning) to discuss anything relating to a site specific issue will incur a charge based on the table below:

 CriteriaWBC OfficerServiceFee
Category 1

Development of over 100 houses or 10,000 sq. m commercial or site area over 2 ha

Policy Manager and/or Team Leader (Policy) together with other Policy Officers
  • Detailed policy discussions
  • Written advice note
£1000 + VAT
Category 2Development between 10 and 99 houses, commercial development between 1,000 and 9,999 sq m or site area between 0.5 ha and 1.99 haTeam Leader and/or Principal Officer
  • Site Visit
  • Attendance at one meeting of up to two hours if necessary
  • Written advice note
£750 + VAT
Category 3Development of 9 or fewer houses and less than 1 hectare commercial developmentPrincipal Officer
  • Attendance at one meeting of one hour if necessary
  • Written advice note
£500 + VAT

 

In the interests of clarity, if an application is made via the pre-application process these fees will not apply.

Based on work undertaken during the West Berkshire Core Strategy and West Berkshire Housing Site Allocations DPD, it is expected that officers will spend between 10 and 20 hours per year on this work. 

(b) From 1 October 2019, anyone wishing to appear on the Self Build Register (part 1 or part 2) will be charged an annual fee of £100 + VAT.  This fee will apply to anyone who is currently on the register.

It has not been possible to clean the register each year of people who have applied to more than one authority, have already built their own house or have multiple entries on the register.  Currently, 171 people are on the Self Build Register, and it is not expected that all of these will wish to remain on the register.

These charges together, would suggest an annual income of approximately £10,000.


What do we think the impact will be?

The impact of charging for policy advice is very hard to determine as it might generate income to cover the cost of providing the service, or it might free up time for officers to concentrate on the statutory duties associated with producing a local development plan document, or similar. 

The Development Control team already offer a pre-application service and by withdrawing policy officers from offering free advice this might result in an increase to the take up of this service.

Please refer to the pdf icon Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) Stage One [398kb] for more details.


What else have we considered in arriving at our proposal?

The withdrawal of Policy Officer advice to enable officers to concentrate on the delivery of the plans has been considered, and remains an option.


Why we want your views

We would like to know how these proposal might impact you and the wider community, and any views you have on how we can minimise the impact of these proposed changes.

All feedback will be considered at the Executive Committee on 14 February 2019. Following this, a final decision will be made at the Full Council meeting on 5 March 2019. The recommendations and your anonymised response will be posted on this page.

Please note: Social media discussions will not be monitored/considered as a valid response. Please use the link below to take part in the consultation.

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