COUNCILLORS in West Oxfordshire expressed their delight over proposals to raise planning fees - saying the extra cash would save taxpayers from 'subsidising developers'.

In February, the Government revealed plans to increase planning fees by 20 per cent, a move that would see West Oxfordshire District Council’s 2017/18 budged boosted by £145,050.

The council’s cabinet welcomed the news that extra money would be invested into its planning department and support pricey battles over appeals.

Deputy leader of the council Toby Morris said: “Essentially taxpayers are subsidising developers because of the costs we generate on income.

“From a purely financial point of view its nice to be able to set a fee that covers some of those costs, because the developers are the ones that get the profit.”

The Government intends to introduce the rise, which will only be awarded to planning authorities who commit to investing the extra revenue in their planning departments, in July.

Mr Morris said the increased fees would help support the council when defending itself on appeals over refused planning applications.

He continued: “At the moment, if a speculative developer puts in an application that is refused and goes to appeal, the cost of defending that appeal is put on the taxpayer.

“We’ve always said that defending the district is worth taxpayers’ money, but if we’re able to make those developers pay for the cost of the service, that would include those appeals.”

The cost the council estimates it will incur on development management in 2017/18 is £1,336,900