Development management answers: what is the application fee for temporary structures?

Q I have a recurring problem with a local authority over the fees payable for temporary or mobile structures such as caravans, portable cabins and demountable buildings without footings and foundations....

The nature of the permissions being sought is permanent, but the lifespan of the buildings is limited. I consider that they are a "change of use of land" and would fall under category 13 of the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, etc) (England) Regulations 2012.  However, the council is basing its fee request on the floor area, arguing that category 2 of the regulations applies.  Do you have any knowledge or information that might be helpful? DH

A The fee payable would depend on the circumstances. Applying the principles in R (Hall Hunter Partnership) v First Secretary of State and Waverley Borough Council [2007], an assessment would need to be made as to whether what is proposed constitutes a building on the basis of size, permanence and degree of attachment to the ground. Development Control Practice 4.3112 looks at these issues and gives examples of cases where they have been considered by planning inspectors. If what is proposed is considered to be a building, category 2 would apply. If it is not a building, a change of use might be involved or it might even be the case that planning permission would not be required. If, for example, a non-residential caravan is proposed in relation to an existing use such as for agricultural storage on agricultural land, then planning permission would not be required. Unfortunately, if you dispute a planning application fee, the only way to resolve the matter is to let the statutory period for determination run and then lodge an appeal against non-determination. I have long believed that there should be a simpler mechanism for resolving such disputes. John Harrison


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