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November 16, 2023


Before we start, what is a planning application fee?

A planning application fee refers to the payment required when submitting a planning application to the relevant authority. They are set by the government throughout England and detailed in the Town and Country Planning Regulations 2012. 

This fee covers the cost associated with processing and reviewing the application. The exact amount of the fee can vary depending on factors such as the type of building and size of the development. 

For the most part, the fee means the costs are incurred by the local planning authorities as opposed to the general taxpayer.


The change will incorporate a 25% increase in planning application fees and a 35% increase for major planning applications. This will be live from the 6th of December. 

The maximum major planning application fee will now rise to £405,000 and the householder application fee will increase to £258 (from £206). 

Based on the Consumer Price Index from the previous September, application fees will also be adjusted annually from the 1st of April 2025 with fees capped at 10%. 

The fee exemption for repeat applications, commonly known as the ‘free-go’, has also now been removed meaning it’s highly important for plans to be correct the first time. If applications are initially incorrect, this will have a knock-on effect in terms of cost and time. 

The government outline the changes as:

  • Increase planning application fees by 35% for applications for major development and 25% for all other applications.
  • Introduce an annual indexation of planning application fees, capped at 10%, from 1 April 2025.
  • Remove the fee exemption for repeat applications (the ‘free-go’). An applicant will still be able to benefit from a free-go if their application was withdrawn or refused in the preceding 12 months, subject to all other conditions for the free-go being met. 
  • Reduce the Planning Guarantee for non-major planning applications from 26 to 16 weeks.
  • Introduce a new prior approval fee of £120 for applications for prior approval for development by the Crown on closed defence sites.


Increased application fees, along with the removal of the ‘free-go’. has the potential to be a costly mistake for the applicant. Free-go refers to a repeat application without application fees. Until the 6th of December, this must be the same applicant, application type, development proposal, same site and within 12 months of the close of the original application. 

Given initial application fees have risen massively by 35%, the need for correct and accurate information is of the utmost importance. The removal of the ‘free-go’ also means reapplications will involve additional costs for your project straight away. 

We understand the need for quick and accurate survey data to help your project meet deadlines and get off to the best start possible. As leading experts in the field of surveying and state-of-the-art technology, Spatial Dimensions can help in all planning application plans and drawings. These include but are not limited to; topographical surveys, measured building surveys, CAD drawings and underground utility surveys. We can also provide you with a ‘planning package.’ Want to know more? Just follow the link below!

Our highly technical data helps you to create a clear proposal, with all surveys passed through a rigorous quality assurance process. After all, it’s part of our guarantee!

 As ever, we are always on hand to answer any questions you may have. 


Spatial Dimensions