COMPANIES in the peak district will be charged for pre-application planning advice by the national park authority, which is continuing to find ways to tighten its belt.
The Peak District National Park Authority is trying to plug gaps left by a 30 per cent reduction in its funding from 2011-2015.
Authority members have agreed that businesses will now be charged up to £1,000 for advice before they formally submit planning applications.
Planning committee chairman Lesley Roberts said: “Seven out of 10 of our neighbouring local authorities already charge for pre-application advice, and most English national park authorities are considering it or do so already.
“It makes sense for developers to pay for advice that is tailored to their particular scheme and on which they can rely to help them achieve an application that is more likely to be approved.
“It also makes sense for us in terms of encouraging developments that are beneficial for the national park.
“We understand these are difficult economic times for many businesses, but this system will give them more clarity about the process and help them understand how to get the best outcome for themselves and the national park.
“Charging businesses for pre-application advice will still not cover our costs, but it will help us to operate a higher quality planning service in a time of severe budget cuts.”
Householders will not be charged for pre-application advice for domestic properties, including applications for listed building consent.
The authority has also announced it plans to introduce the option of Planning Performance Agreements from April 2014 which will cost between £1,000 and £5,000 per agreement.