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Local Planning Authority Resources Survey Reveals LPAs Ill Equipped to Deal with an Economic Upturn Says POS

Date: 14/12/2012

Planning magazine's survey, of 76 local planning authority heads of planning, shows that  planning authorities are ill equipped to deal with an economic upturn, says POS.

  • On NPPF transitional arrangements
    • 71.4% of local planning authorities that said they would need to revise post-2004 local plans to bring them in line with the NPPF said that they would not be able to do this before 27 March 2013 (the date on which decision-makers will no longer be able to give weight to post-2004 local plan policies if they conflict to a limited degree with the NPPF). Is this a concern for POS? Could these councils find themselves powerless to prevent significant development on unallocated land?
  • On local planning authority resources
  •  
    • Average change in numbers of professional planners employed by local planning authorities between October 2010 and October 2012 = -12.62% (this was an average headcount reduction of 2.8 staff)
  • Will it be necessary to make cuts to staff numbers in your planning team(s) later this year or next year in order to meet budgetary requirements?
    • 75 respondents answered this question
    • NO - 16 (21.33%)
    • YES - 28 (37.33%)
    • NOT CLEAR YET/DON'T KNOW - 31 (41.33%)

  • Of the 28 (37.33%) that said it would be necessary to make cuts, they said the cuts would be made in:
    • 9 (32.1%) development management, strategic planning and support staff
    • 3 (10.7%) development management only
    • 3 (10.7%) development management and strategic planning, but not support staff
    • 3 (10.7%) development management and support staff, but not strategic planning
    • 2 (7.1%) planning only
    • 3 (10.7%) strategic planning and support staff
    • 2 (7.1%) support staff only
    • 3 (10.7%) did not know
  • Do you expect to be able to increase the size of your planning team later this year or next year?
    • 75 respondents answered this question
    • NO - 57 (76%)
    • YES - 8 (10.6%)
    • NOT CLEAR YET/DON'T KNOW - 10 (13.33%)

The POS response was clear. John Silvester, Society Spokesperson, said: "the reduction in staffing numbers does not bode well for being able to respond quickly to an upturn in activity when the economy does take a turn for the better".

Mike Kiely, Senior Vice President, said: "it must be remembered that the resource reductions are on the back of several years of reduction and will leave many planning departments ill equipped to deal with any development upturn." And "the responses on fees gives a clear indication that the 15% rise can only be a stop-gap and emphasises the need for local fee setting."

 

 

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