New era for Planning services
Published on 25th May 2012
The first phase in a major restructure of planning services at Waveney & Suffolk Coastal has been completed to deliver a modern customer focused service saving over three-quarters of a million pounds
The development management and building control service has been merged across the two Councils, and organised into three area teams.
"Each of our development management and building control team members now have specific geographic areas to cover, meaning that there is one clear point of contact for nearly all matters in that area. This will make it much easier for the public, developers and parishes," said Cllr David Ritchie, Waveney's Portfolio Holder for Planning
"This is an important leap forward for our services, and with the further changes to come, including much better online access to all the relevant plans, applications and other information, I am confident that our already good service will continue to improve," added Cllr Ritchie.
The go-ahead was given in January by the Cabinets of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney to proposals to merge their two planning services in a move expected to mean better performance and greater savings.
Maps showing which officers are dealing with which parts of the two districts, along with full contact details for those development management, enforcement or building control staff have now been placed online
"The Government is making significant changes to the way planning operates and we are committed to being ready for the new localised ethos and to be even more responsive to the communities we serve," said Cllr Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal's Cabinet Member for Planning.
"We are not just restructuring our planning organisation but are also making a complete cultural change which mean real improvements for our customers and make the most of new technologies. Our Councils have been pioneers in sharing services, and these radical changes will again lead the way in offering further improved, efficient services," added Cllr Smith.
Both Councils are among the better performers in terms of all the key indicators such as speed and quality of dealing with applications, and it expected that after these changes settle in, the services will become even better.
It is anticipated that the total savings of the shared planning team once all the changes have been completed will be over £800,000 since 2008 when Philip Ridley took on the management of both teams.