Published: Thursday, 12th November 2015
Planning minister Brandon Lewis has urged more councils to share planning services when he answered question in Parliament this week.
During oral questions in the Commons on Monday (9 November) Lewis was asked if he had a solution to the chronic shortage of good planners and the over-reliance on consultants.
Lewis said: “Local authorities should view their planning departments as the heartbeat of economic regeneration in their communities in terms of designing and building for businesses and homes.
“I would encourage local authorities to work together and to share services in the same way that some have shared chief executives and other parts of their management structure.
“They have not done that so much with planning yet, but that would be a good step towards building a strong resource.”
Later the minister pointed out that the Planning Advisory Service provided funding to help councils which moved to shared services.
He told MPs: “Planning authorities that have introduced new ways of delivering planning services have shown that performance can be improved while reducing costs. I hope that more will follow their lead.
We have put support in place through funding the Planning Advisory Service, and we are open to supporting planning authorities to deliver ambitious proposals through devolution deals.”
He added: “It is clear that local authorities that share services can make sure that they protect and improve front-line services, such as planning services, and can see savings of as much as 20 per cent on the work.”