The government published a consultation in December proposing to raise the maximum fees for planning applications to “better reflect the level of resources they demand”.
But industry body Homes for Scotland criticised the lack of a proposal to ring-fence the extra income and of a mechanism to ensure the system would become faster and more efficient.
Responding to the consultation director of planning Tammy Adams said: “We do not object to the principle of reviewing and increasing fees but in recent months the average decision time for major housing applications has been 48.5 weeks – more than three times the statutory period of 16 weeks. This is disastrously slow and does not include the likes of negotiating Section 75 Agreements or road construction consents.”
He added: “The slowness of Scotland’s planning system works against the common goal of all those who want to increase the delivery of much-needed new homes. Indeed, our members tell us it has never been harder to get homes out of the ground.”
Adams argued the government had failed to justify the fee increase, suggesting lower fees were not the root cause of the system’s poor performance.
He pledged the organisation would request a meeting with officials and ministers to discuss “how a stronger and more supportable package of measures can be put together to improve planning performance and justify a review of planning fees”.