An overhaul of Fenland District Council’s planning service is under way following an in-depth review by independent experts.
The council invited the Planning Advisory Service and Local Government Association to examine all aspects of its planning service and suggest ways it could be improved. It is now drawing up an action plan to implement the recommendations.
It says clearer leadership, speedier processing of applications, including clearing the current backlog, and better use of technology are among the necessary improvements.
It also suggests the planning committee should be “more effective and efficient in handling those major applications that are the lifeblood for providing the 11,000 homes and 7,000 jobs and the necessary supporting roads, schools and infrastructure in the district in the next 20 years”.
It also calls for greater clarity in the respective roles of councillors and officers.
The report praises the council’s internal, one-team approach and its external partnership work, saying they “help deliver many good and some excellent outcomes”. It adds: “Officers and councillors responsible for economic development, housing and street scene spoke very highly of the partnership spirit and commitment of the planning service.”