I have a planning permission (issued by a district council) containing a planning condition requiring the submission (for approval) of a Written Scheme of Investigation (WSI) in relation to heritage matters. It appears that the district council doesn’t have its own heritage advisor, so uses the county council’s advisor instead. Although not a requirement in the wording of the planning condition, the district has provided a note (in a letter originating from the county council) stating that the county’s advisor will “charge £230+VAT to the applicant” (and presumably in addition to the application fee being charged for Discharge of Condition by the district council) to provide a brief (to base the WSI on – not a specific to the wording of the Condition), to review the WSI, and to review the final report (i.e. the final outputs produced in accordance with the approved WSI – again, the approval of this report isn’t a specific requirement of the Condition). The note suggests that this additional fee isn’t optional.
On what basis is the county council able to forcibly charge additional fees (and of what value) to the applicant (bearing in mind that a professional heritage consultant will be employed by the applicant to carry out the work in any case), when the County’s advice is primarily being provided to the district council, and when a charge is already levied to the applicant by the district council to allow them to deal with their requirements to consider and discharge the information submitted by the applicant (required by the Condition which the district council wrote)?
Thoughts on whether I can avoid this extra charge (i.e. it has no legal basis) or whether they can force this additional fee upon me would be appreciated. Thanks.