Planning performance agreements

This useful project management tool improves the process of complex planning applications.

What is a planning performance agreement (PPA)?

A PPA is a project management tool used for major applications, and complex minor applications, which enable all parties to be clear about what is required of them at all stages of the planning application process.

Why sign up to a PPA?

The benefits of using this service are:

i. Certainty of timescales for reaching a decision and a specific planning committee date to work towards.

ii. A project managed application process that includes a range of professionals involved in the determination of your application.

iii. The opportunity to discuss changes to applications as they arise.

iv. The cost of pre-application advice, and resident engagement is included.

v. Access to officers and consultees to enable constructive discussion on planning applications.

vi. Named officer contact, so you can discuss your application when you need to.

What does this service cost?

There are two types of PPA - one is a fixed price PPA and the cost of this service is £25,000 +VAT which enables us to deliver this enhanced level of service. This service is only available for small scale major applications and is not suitable for large scale major applications.

The other is for large or major developments within our five key regeneration areas. There is no fixed price for these as it will be dependent on the size and complexity of the scheme. 

What does this service include?

In addition to the project managed approach used, the PPA service includes:

  • two pre-application meetings with the officers and consultees
  • a planning forum with community representatives
  • direct contact with an allocated planning officer who will continuously review the process with you.

Does this mean I will get an approval?

We can’t guarantee the outcome of any planning application, but by signing up to a fixed price PPA, you have the best possible chances of a positive conclusion. You’ll also get a higher level of officer involvement and community involvement in your scheme.

How do I enter into a PPA with H&F?

View a copy of our standard planning performance agreement (pdf 211KB). Please read it carefully before contacting us on explaining the nature of your scheme. A planning officer will then be allocated to the case and contact you to progress the matter.

PPAs for large scale planning applications and major developments in regeneration areas

For schemes within the council’s regeneration areas and for other significant major applications dealt with by our planning regeneration team, we will provide advice and support to developers under a planning performance agreement (PPA).

A PPA between the applicant and the local planning authority does not guarantee planning permission but it certainly improves communication between developers and the council and this greatly enhances the chances of a positive conclusion. We strongly encourage their use.

Where a planning application for a major development proposal is submitted without a planning performance agreement, we will handle it as a routine application within the existing workload of our team, without dedicated resource. It will be determined without the lengthy dialogue that normally takes place on such schemes.

After you obtain planning permission, it is helpful to agree a programme for dealing with planning conditions and any other amendments that may be necessary. To commit resources on both sides, there needs to be a PPA in place.

The cost of a PPA depends on the scale of the application, the resources required and input from officers for the project. It will be based on daily rates for officers, including overheads. We may need to bring in additional expertise or temporary staff, which will be funded by the applicant.

Hourly rates for officers are charged at the rates shown in the table below. The fees shown do not include VAT.

Planning performance agreement fees
Officer type Day rate Hourly rate
Heads of service, team leaders and principal officer supervising £708 £108
Principal officers £690 £95
Senior officers £610 £85
Technical support officer £470 £65
Legal officers Not available £220

All PPAs are made pursuant to the Localism Act 2011 and the Local Government Acts 1972, 2000, and 2003. Section 93 of the Local Government Act 2003 allows local planning authorities to charge for providing discretionary services and legislation is clear that, where charges are made, they must not exceed the cost of providing the service. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA) identify PPA/developer contributions as a revenue stream that should be maximised by planning authorities.

The fees cover our costs for providing the advice and which, if we did not charge, would be met by council taxpayers generally.

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