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People seeking advice before applying for planning permission could soon be forced to pay. A report from the Development Services team at Lichfield District Council has suggested that charges be introduced. The proposal comes as the department looks to save money as part of the Fit for the Future review, which aims to plug a £1.7million hole in the local authority’s budget. The report – which will be discussed at an overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday (November 13) – also said other charges could be introduced: “It is proposed to introduce an administrative charge for refunding planning application fees that have been over-paid.” Other areas of change being considered include a reduction in the number of planning committee meetings which take place each year. The mid-year report from the Development Services team also revealed that savings of over £79,000 have already been identified in the department.

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Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.