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Council plans to charge for pre-application planning advice

Fenland District Council has launched a six-week consultation on proposals to introduce charges for people seeking planning advice before submitting formal applications.

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The proposals would bring the council in to line with other local planning authorities.

Fenland Council recently agreed to establish a shared planning service with Peterborough City Council and the proposed fees replicate those charged by Peterborough.

The target response times - 21 days for a minor proposal and 42 days for a major scheme - also mirror Peterborough's.

Councillor Will Sutton, FDC's Cabinet member responsible for planning, said: "The principle of charging for planning advice is nationally well established and has been embraced by other local planning authorities in Cambridgeshire.

"At present we do not charge for pre-application advice, which is both expensive and time- consuming in terms of officer time. It is not a cost that is met by the planning fee.

"Introducing a pre-application charge will help to ensure that adequate resource is provided and that potential applicants get quality advice in good time."

It is likely that the charging scheme will be introduced in April, 2016.

To comment, email planning@fenland.gov.uk or write to Development Services, Fenland District Council, County Road, March, Cambs PE15 8NQ. All responses must be in by December 4.