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Additional fee income expected to be used in recruiting staff

Date: 11/1/2018

Planning magazine reports that the long-awaited increase in application fees for planning authorities in England comes into force next week, and that experts predict it will mostly be spent on recruitment but that filling posts will not necessarily be quick or easy. 

Planning authorities are likely to use the increased funds primarily on recruiting extra staff, Mike Kiely, chairman of the Planning Officers Society (POS) which represents local authority planners, told a Planning reporter. "Authorities may want to invest in IT and in work like masterplanning and investing in their local plan," he said. "But the vast majority of the extra fees will be used to recruit people, and mostly in development management."

Kiely said some authorities that are planning recruitment drives would be ready to launch them immediately, as they would have been planning ahead for additional income from a source that they would have seen as predictable and secure.

But POS president Steve Ingram, strategic director of development and growth at South Kesteven District Council, warned that that the rise would not necessarily lead to prompt appointments. "It does take time for local authorities to go through the necessary process if we are to recruit staff, so it is not an instant fix," he said.

Ingram said his authority would be using the fee increase to recruit experienced officers to enhance the authority's pre-application service. Boosting the council's urban design expertise would also be a priority, he said. "Elected members are very keen that, if we are to have development, it has to be of the right quality," he added.

MikeKiely3web.jpg Mike Kiely Steve Ingram President 17_18_web.jpgSteve Ingram

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