Lynne Hillan, the new Conservative leader of Barnet Council, is calling on a future Conservative Government to bring in legal changes to allow greater flexibility for Councils to charge for enhanced services. They would like to allow a fast track service for urgent planning applications for those willing to pay extra. But they have been advised that at present this is not allowed.

Cllr Hillan says London Councils back the changes to provide greater localism.

She told The Times:

“Councils do have powers to impose some charges but there is no flexibility. We are now pressing the Tory leadership to introduce new laws if they win power to allow councils to implement their initiatives.”

The Communities Secretary John Denham muttered about Barnet coming "unstuck." But as well as the argument about planning fees there is an argument about democracy. Does he believe that a decision to have lower Council Tax and higher charges (or vice versa) should a matter for elected councillors?

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