When submitting a planning application, it is usual to submit all the drawings and written documentation online. The system to date has been through the website www.planningportal.com (a privatized entity) which has been convenient and straightforward. Application drawings and documents are submitted, and then the applicant calls the relevant council to make the application fee over the phone. This was a simple method, and kept monies held by architects and agents to a minimum and separated application fees and professional fees.
However they now intend to add a service charge of £20 and take all application monies on behalf of the respective councils. This should save the councils time, by processing less calls and money, but will cost each application extra. Tom Spriggs Architect is still getting to grips with how to best manage the new set up, and with any luck try to avoid the additional fees. Unfortunately however, it would appear that making an application will become slightly more expensive each time.
Planning portal website:
Some councils are beginning offer separate payment systems directly (more like before) but there is a fear this will make more complicated two-tier payments systems between local councils. Watch this space.