barn conversion© Global Warming Images/Rex/Shutterstock

Farmers making a planning application face a 20% hike in fees from July 2017, the NFU has warned.

As part of the Housing White Paper, local authorities have been given the right to increase the fees they charge from July 2017, if they commit to investing the additional fee income in the planning department.

The NFU said it was an unwelcome step for many farmers, who already paid considerable fees and they were continuing to lobby against it.

See also: Expert advice on securing planning permission

“For example, fees for agricultural buildings are based on the floor space and range from £80 to £250,000,” it said.

“The government did not recognise this when they assessed NFU evidence from the Rural Planning Review.

“It is an issue for many farmers, who can pay thousands for agents to put together applications, with local planning authority charges on top of this.”

The union is urging businesses thinking of making a planning application to get it into their local authorities ahead of July.

If the application is received before this date and the local authority has all the information it needs to assess it, the current lower rates of fees should apply.

But farmers should ensure that the planning authority issues a receipt to acknowledge that it has received the application, said the NFU.