Monday, 16 December 2013

Forget carrots and sticks. LPAs need Planners.

Since coming into office this Government has adopted both carrot and stick approaches to improving the performance of LPAs.
The initial nudge was the inducement of a New Homes Bonus and the promise of a six year guarantee to provide investment in local services following the building of new homes.
More latterly LPAs have been operating under the threat of special measures and recently Blaby fell foul of this designation because of it's poor record of determining major planning applications within 13 weeks.
Local Plan coverage too remains poor and the recent National Infrastructure Plan revealed plans to consult on what could be described as the ultimate stick with which a Government could beat a LPA - a statutory requirement to put a local plan in place.
It is telling though that 87% of respondents to the recent DCS Planning Consultancy Survey agreed that a shortage of staff is a major constraint on timely decision-making.
LPAs need the ability to attract and retain the quality of staff necessary to determine planning applications and get Local Plans adopted. Less time would need to be dedicated to carrots, sticks, and easy soundbites if they did.