Published: Thursday, 8th October 2015
New research undertaken on behalf of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has found average cuts in planning staff of more than 30 per cent in local planning authorities.
The cuts which have taken place over the past five years are now undermining economic recovery across the north-west region, according to the report.
In many cases, local planning services are surviving on the “goodwill and professional integrity” of their officers, but this may not be sustainable in the longer term, argued the institute.
The region’s future ability to deliver homes, schools, hospitals and other major infrastructure is being put at risk, said the RTPI.
The research by Arup, the global engineering, design and planning company, found that although the time taken to determine applications is often still good, there are signs of increasing delays in receiving pre-application advice, s106 agreements and discharge of conditions.
Joanne Harding, chair of the North West region of the RTPI, said: “Planning authorities across the North West are doing everything they can to improve the quality of their service, despite very significant funding cuts.
“We need greater reinvestment in planning services from sources such as the New Homes Bonus and other related income. This would help put planning services on a more stable footing at a critical time for the North West.”