FARMERS THINKING of putting up new buildings or developments face a hike in planning fees from Friday (April 1), according to rural consultant BK.

Planning expert Richard Brogden said local authorities had been told by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister that they needed to raise fees to increase their income to £242m to recover more of the costs of running the local planning system.

All farm planning applications will be subject to higher costs but it will be the biggest schemes that face the largest rises, said Mr Brogden.

Building developments over 4215sq m were previously subject to a maximum fee of  £11,000 but this has been increased by over 300% to £50,000.

However, Mr Brogden said smaller schemes would be less affected. An application for building on land up to 2.5ha (six acres) would only increase by 20% to £265 per 0.1ha.

Fees for buildings with a gross floor space of under 465sq m would rise from £30 to £50.

Mr Brogden said there were some types of rural development that could be penalised.

“For example, a farm business consolidating several smaller dairies into one new larger site would face increased fees for the new development as well as increased fees for the redevelopment of the other redundant sites.”