Rother District Council plans to charge £48 to send a letter

ROTHER residents seeking council advice on planning applications could soon find themselves paying for the privilege.

From July 1, the district council intends to start charging applicants for letters and meetings with planning officials.

A pre-application query about a plan for domestic developments, such as constructing an outbuilding or adding a driveway to a private dwelling, will soon set the householder back £48.

And any householder wishing to speak to a planning officer in person will face the prospect of paying £48 per hour, per officer, on top of the fee for the letter.

Rother also proposes to charge for pre-application advice on plans which involve listed buildings, a commercial change of use and tree advice.

Larger developments will incur higher fees, from £144 for a meeting and a letter for one dwelling and rising to £528 for the same service for developments of 50 properties and above.

One year ago neighbouring Hastings Borough Council introduced charges for council advice for larger planning applications, starting from £210.

But, unlike Rother, the authority has no current plans to charge individual householders for planning advice.

Rother District Council has already begun to charge for planning advice.

On May 1, the authority started charging householders £35 for permitted development advice and £48 for commercial enquiries.

And anyone with a query about a site’s planning history will have to hand over £12.

The new tariff is available to view on the Rother District Council website.

The council did not comment before the Observer went to press.