Planning application costs can vary substantially depending on the nature of the consent sought. This article explains the costs of each type of application and also outlines project-specific consultant fees.

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How much does a planning application cost in the UK?

The cost of a planning application is £206 in England. This is the new cost for a householder application and it applies from 2018 onwards. Householder applications are appropriate for alterations to single houses including extensions and alterations.

For multi-unit housing planning applications, costs from 2018 are as follows:

  • Extensions and/or alterations to two or more dwellings: £407
  • Residential new-build (from 1 to 50 homes): £462 per dwelling
  • Residential new-build (over 50 homes): £22,859 plus £138 for every dwelling

Costs of a lawful development certificate

The cost of an application for a lawful development certificate is 50% of the cost of the corresponding planning application. For a householder project, the LDC would, therefore, be £103.

Lawful development certificates are usually sought where an applicant wishes to confirm that any proposed alterations fall within permitted development and therefore do not require planning permission.


Costs of outline planning applications

When a proposal is still at an early stage of development, an outline application can ascertain whether it is likely to be approved by a local authority. This is useful to establish a principle of development before having to make all decisions in relation to design and materials.

  • For sites up to 2.5 hectares, an outline planning application will cost £462 per 0.1 hectare.
  • For sites above 2.5 hectares, an outline planning application will cost £11,432 plus £138 per 0.1 hectare.

Pre-application advice costs

Pre-application advice allows discussion with a planning officer before submitting a planning application. Costs can vary from borough to borough and there are no statutory limits on the cost of pre-app advice. Various levels of service are usually available. Level one may include written feedback and a follow-up letter, and may be in the region of £500 for a small project like a house extension. Level two may include a face to face meeting with a planning officer, typically costing around £800 for a small project.

Costs of an appeal

There is generally no cost for making an appeal, with the exception of enforcement appeals. However, parties to appeals are expected to meet their own consultant expenses. An appeal is usually carried out by either an architect or a planning consultant, and their fees typically begin at around £2,000 for a small householder project. The consultant will prepare a statement of the applicant’s case with details of common ground, the expected appeal route, and the required evidence.

It is worth noting that the appeal process can often take six months or longer. This additional time may have cost implications if a property or site is mortgaged.

It is possible to submit a claim for costs if you feel that the local planning authority has behaved unreasonably.


Commercial application costs

For the erection of workplace buildings that are not agricultural, the following application costs apply:

  • 0-40 sqm increase in gross floor area: £234
  • 41-75 sqm increase in gross floor area: £462
  • 76-3,750 sqm increase in gross floor area: £462 for each 75 sqm or part thereof
  • 3,750 sqm increase in gross floor area: £22 859 plus £138 for each additional 75 sqm

Planning Performance Agreements

Planning Performance Agreement costs are typically around £5,000 for a complex householder project, £10,000 for a minor proposal (e.g. ten new homes) and as much as £30,000 for major proposals of one hundred homes or more.

Planning Performance Agreements are used typically in larger projects, with the aim of managing the planning application process more efficiently. They are made voluntarily between the applicant and the local authority to encourage a collaborative working approach. PPA’s are usually agreed during pre-app discussions.

The are many different models of PPA. These agreements usually aim to fix certain criteria in relation to timescales and resources, whilst making the planning process more transparent. The key programme item to be agreed is the length of the determination period i.e. from submission of an application until a decision is made. This helps to give a developer more certainty and therefore reduces risk at these crucial early stages of a project.

The cost of planning application drawings

In addition to the fees payable to the local authority, there may be significant consultants’ costs in producing the necessary drawings and documentation. To submit for planning, a number of documents are required as specified at a national level. In addition to this, local planning authorities may have their own requirements that need to be adhered to. Submission documents typically include drawings, visualisations, a Design & Access Statement and the application forms. For larger projects, the list of planning documentation can be significantly longer.

Additional project-specific requirements will incur further costs and may include:

  • Flood risk assessment; expect to pay at least £800, potentially significantly more depending on the risk area
  • Basement impact assessment; expect to pay at least £2,000 according to complexity and size
  • Sun and daylight assessments; expect to pay at least £1,500

By this stage, you will have appointed an architect, possibly a quantity surveyor and a structural engineer. It is likely you have also commissioned a survey of the site or building. For a small-scale or domestic project with a construction budget of around £200,000, expect fees for all consultants to be in the region of £10,000 to reach planning application stage.

While clients will often require planning permission as soon as possible, it is important to provide sufficient quality of information to maximise the likelihood of approval. The planning submission generally happens during stage 3 of the RIBA Plan of Work. In a typical project, about 30% of the architect’s fees are incurred up until and including this stage. More information on architect’s fees can be found in our article: Architects fees in the UK.

Where can I find out more?

Planning application fees can change annually, so be sure to check the latest relevant information. For England and Wales, the current information is available on The Planning Portal. Further guidance and a useful planning fee calculator are available at the following pages: