Matt Thomson, Head of Policy at the RTPI said:
\"These proposals are a minefield and risk creating a two-tier planning system, rife with suspicion, where wealthy developers may appear to receive preferential treatment ahead of those who cannot or do not wish to pay an extra fee.
The RTPI believes the planning system needs to be properly resourced but creating a new scheme based on the ability to pay seems ready-made for conflicts of interest, allegations of interference, and raised expectations among applicants about the chances of their proposals succeeding.
We need a debate about how to make the planning system work even more efficiently but this proposal could be seen by many as wealthy developers greasing the wheels of local government bureaucracy.\"
The RTPI believes that if it is accepted that decisions can be speeded up by securing greater resources through increasing planning application fees, then the planning profession needs to decide whether fees should be increased across the board. However, there are processes and variables in the consideration of planning applications – including effective local consultation – that cannot be avoided simply by throwing money at them.
If applicants are to be encouraged to put resources into speeding up consideration of their proposals, they could do a lot worse than to ensure they prepare applications that clearly accord with the aspirations of communities expressed through their development plans and pre-application discussions and consultations.