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Highland Council Budget Increases Planning And Building Warrant Fee Income

14th February 2019

Planning and building warrant income is to be increased over 3 years as part of the Highland council 3 year budget plan.

2019/20 - £600,000

2020/21 - £328,000

2021/22 - £182,000

Total - £110,000,000

The current income target for planning and building control fees is £4.867m. This target largely reflects an uplift in Building Warrant fees following changes to the fees regulations which came into force on 1 July 2017. An increase in planning fees for major developments was also agreed last year, although this is only leading to a relatively small part of the overall increase in income.

Proposed savings will be delivered by increasing the income fee target by £1.110m over the next 3 years to reflect anticipated volumes. The proposed income increase will be achievable provided the economy remains buoyant and the number of major planning applications such as quarries, wind energy developments and major industrial developments continue to materialise. Similarly, the current numbers of building warrant applications will have to continue to increase.

It is worth noting that fees are set by the Scottish Government and are outwith the Council's control.

If this income is not generated then other areas will have to be looked into to balance the budget.

This is a significant increase in the target for income, and means that there is no scope within the budget to re-invest back into the Service. The savings also anticipate an increase in planning fees, although this has not yet been committed to and cannot be guaranteed as it depends on Scottish Government changing regulations to allow it to happen.

Highland Council was re-appointed, on 1 May 2017, as a verifier for Building Standards for a 3yr period. Highland Council's re-appointment, on 30 April 2020, is dependent upon the Council addressing turnaround times and demonstrating investment of building warrant fee income into the verification service.

Performance improvements, efficiency and workforce planning, will be addressed by the introduction of additional new Modern Apprentices, improved ICT and processes.

To see the full range of cuts and changes in the budget go to - https://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4084/highland_council

 

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