How much does planning permission cost? We explain the fees

Got a building project that needs planning permission? Here’s what you need to know about the fees.

Whether you’ve invested your savings in a plot of land that is ripe for conversion or want to add an extension to your existing home, there are costs involved when it comes to getting the green light for your passion project.

As you’ll know from reading our planning permission guide, rules are different across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The same applies to fees.

mature couple at at table looking at sheets of paper and laptop screenCredit: Shutterstock/Fizkes
Planning permission comes at a cost

So, if you’re looking for some fees guidance so you can budget for your build, here’s what you need to know about planning permission costs.


Why do planning permission fees exist?

Fees keep taxes lower for everyone else

Planning permission fees were established so that users of the planning system, rather than all taxpayers, cover the costs to local authorities of dealing with the applications.

Although planning departments are funded by each local authority’s budget, they rely on the additional money generated by fees to be able to process the applications.

Which planning applications cost the most money?

What you pay depends on the type of project

For homeowners, there are generally three types of development where planning permission fees apply. How much you pay depends on whether the proposed work needs household planning consent or full planning permission.

Fees are calculated based on the type of buildCredit: Shutterstock/Franck Boston
Fees are calculated based on the type of build

In broader terms, you should expect to pay fees on the following projects:

  • Changes to an existing dwelling such as adding an extension, basement or an additional storey
  • Change of use from commercial to residential – for example buying a pub and converting it into a home
  • Creating a new dwelling. This could mean buying a plot of land and building a home from scratch, buying an existing plot and replacing the current house with a new one, or dividing your garden up into additional plots and building residential homes on them

The cost depends on which nation of the UK you live in. Depending on where you live and what you’re applying for, you could be looking at anything from £206 to over £1000.

The exception to this is when the extension falls into the category known as permitted development rights. If you’ve been advised by your local planning department that your project fits this remit, you won’t be required to submit a planning application or pay any fees.

Curious about permitted development rights? Here’s a quiz from Resi Design Studio where you can find if your potential project may fall into this category.

When permitted development rights don’t apply

In the following cases, you’ll need to pay

In simple terms, there are caveats to carrying out work under permitted development rights. The first is that these rights can only be applied to houses and outhouses. All flats and maisonettes require householder consent or full planning permission for any work to take place.

If there has already been work to your home in the past, it may be considered that your property has used up the space allocated by permitted development rights. This can be true even if you didn’t do the work.

Exceptions may also apply to listed buildings or homes in a conservation area, as they too are likely to need more than permitted-development-rights consent.

The best advice we can offer is to speak to your local planning department before you start any building work. One email or phone call could save untold time, money and potential heartache.


How much will planning permission cost me?

Planning costs depend on where you live

Extension or alteration to existing dwellings or works within the curtilage* £206 per single dwelling £230 per single dwelling
Change of use £462 per dwelling (up to 50 units) £460 per dwelling (up to 50 units)
New dwelling £462 per dwelling (up to 50 units) £460 per dwelling (less than 50 units)


Extension or alteration to existing dwellings or works within the curtilage* £300 per single dwelling £327 per single dwelling
Change of use £600 per dwelling for 10 or less, £600 for the first 10 and £450 per dwelling up to 49 £793 for the first dwelling house and £289 for each additional dwelling house subject to a maximum of £14,450.
New dwelling £600 per dwelling £975 per dwelling or £1,145 per dwelling up to two and £409 per dwelling up to 50

*The curtilage is defined by the Shorter Oxford Dictionary as: “a small court, yard, or piece of ground, attached to a dwelling-house and forming one enclosure with it.”

If you are thinking of applying for planning permission in England, bear in mind that the fees are likely to change soon. Amendments are currently being proposed to the National Planning Policy Framework England. The consultation period is due to close in April 2023.

We asked Mark Morris, planning consultant at Urbanist Architecture to explain what the fee changes might be in England. “I think it will be an increase of 35% for larger applications and 25% for smaller ones,” says Morris. “It is quite a hike, but it’s been it’s been at the same rate for quite a long time.

If you are thinking of hiring an architect or planner, Morris notes that while England and Wales have similar policies, the rules in Scotland and Northern Ireland are quite different. If your project is located in either of these locations, you should always hire someone who has good knowledge of the local planning laws.

So why the rise in fees? “I think the argument is the planning service has been underfunded for a long time,” Morris explains. “This money is meant to go directly into the planning service so it should help with reducing delays. With more fees, there should be enough money to pay for more planning officers to actually look at applications. It can currently be the case with some councils that it’s two months before anyone can even look at your application. Increasing the number of staff will hopefully help with this.“

The fees in Northern Ireland increased on 6 April 2023.

If you’d like to read the full documentation on the current fee structure for each nation, here’s where you can find it:




Northern Ireland

Government guidance

How are the fees calculated?

Fees are based on the type of application

Most planning application fees are determined based on the type of application you are making.

When it comes to extensions, for example, Morris explains: “Whether you put in an application for an extension that’s 16 square metres or 24 square metres, it’s assessed based on it being a householder application for an extension, not on how big the extension is. This category carries one set fee.”

In the same way, if you are looking to build a new home, you will be applying for full planning permission and that is the fee you will be charged. The more homes you build, the more it will cost.

3D models of houses shown on top of architect drawingsCredit: Shutterstock/Francesco Scatena
The more dwellings you build, the higher the fees

Are there any fee exemptions?

If you are making changes out of necessity, you may be exempt

If you’re adapting your home to make it more suitable for use due to disability, you are likely to be exempt from standard planning permission fees across the UK. Proof of disability registration will be required.

Listed Building Consent (which is needed for alterations to listed buildings) and conservation area consent (if you live in a conservation area) are also exempt from fees in Wales and England. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t need to apply for planning permission and pay the standard fees – it’s only the listed building and conservation area consent aspect of your application that carries no charge.

When are planning permission fees due?

Payment of fees is required upfront

The advice across the UK is clear. Payment must be made at the same time you submit your application. Until you have paid your fees, your application will not be accepted or processed.

Given the average timeline for applications to be processed is anything from eight to 16 weeks, it’s important not to delay payment.

What if my home crosses the line between two local authorities? Do I pay twice?

You will pay more if you live on a border

In England, guidelines suggest that you will pay 150% of the usual fee. The fee should be paid “to the authority that contains the larger part of the application site within its boundary”, according to the government’s Planning Portal.

However, if you are working on a larger project with different elements, then if the fee for the part of the development that is in one area, plus the fee for the part of the development in the other area, would add up to less than 150% of the total fee, then you would pay this instead (still to the same local authority).

In Scotland, the rules on how much you pay and to which authority are similar to England. But in Wales, you will have to pay the full fee to each authority. Check with your local authority if you’re in Northern Ireland.

Application fees in England
person putting money into a small glass jar with a calculator and small house shaped keyrings in pictureCredit: Shutterstock/Chaglek
More fees could be payable if you cross a boundary

Other fees might apply

If your permission has conditions, they come at a cost

It’s also worth remembering that once you’ve received planning permission, you may still need to pay more money before you get final approval at the end of your project.

Building regulations approval carries its own set of fees. This is where the local authority approves plans that detail how your new extension or home is constructed.

There may also be additional related planning permission costs. Planning permission is often granted with what are known as conditions. These are a set of requirements you must meet to get your final planning permission approval once the work is complete.

Conditions can include the need to use certain building materials. In general, these must be submitted for additional approval – at a cost.

Submitting and getting these conditions signed off can cost an extra £35 in Wales, £34 in England and £100 in Scotland. If you’re in Northern Ireland, check with your local authority for more guidance.

Can I pay for planning permission after the project is complete?

Fees are payable up front retrospective approval

Hopefully you’ll never find yourself in a situation where you need to apply for planning permission after the work has been done (as this can be costly and you might even need to demolish the works). But in this situation, the costs can vary.

A retrospective application process will generally be offered in the first instance, which carries the same fee as an original application. However, this may soon change in England if the proposed changes to the planning guidelines are made. One of the planned changes includes increasing the fees for applications made following a breach of rules.

And depending on the outcome of your application, it could get more costly – for example if the planning consent has conditions attached to it that could require new building works and changes to the structure. Or permission could be refused and you could be told to take it all down.

So it’s always worth making that initial planning department call before you even consider putting a shovel in the ground.

close up of white paper with denied stamped in red and pen signing paperworkCredit: Shutterstock/Chase4concept
Always apply for planning permission

Who else can I go to for advice on fees?

Jump online for more guidance on fees

There’s a wealth of information online about planning permission. If you’re in England or Wales, we’d recommend visiting the Planning Portal as a starting point, but there isn’t an equivalent service in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

As well as providing advice, documentation and news on any changes relating to planning, for a small fee you can also pay for the Planning Portal to submit your planning application for you in England or Wales.

Alternatively, the official body for registered planning consultants is the Royal Town Planning Institute. A search function will allow you to find a local planning consultant in your part of the UK who can also help to guide you with the process.

Sarah Harley

Written by Sarah Harley she/her


Since first picking up a paintbrush and experiencing the joy of re-decorating her bedroom in a questionable red, white and grey scheme as a young teenager, Sarah Harley was hooked on the world of interior design. This obsession even led to a real life ‘Grand Designs’ project in 2005 when she donned a pink hard hat and appeared on TV screens, project managing the renovation and extension of a Grade II listed 17th century Folly in South Wales.

Throughout her career, Sarah has gained an array of experience in several different roles, ranging from copywriting, PR, events management and photography to interior design and home staging. With her two passions being the written word and the joys of a beautifully designed home, Sarah’s mission is to open the door on the world of interiors, inviting readers in to help them work their way through the vast choice of products, ideas and trends so that their own homes can reach their full potential.

Away from work, Sarah fills her Pinterest boards with more ideas, dreams of where to travel, takes photographs and loves being by the sea. She has two sons and if she absorbed everything they said would also be a football expert. The fact is she is often more interested in the colour and design of the kit – but don’t tell them that.

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