Fenland’s new planning service will help save cash

Fenland District Council

Fenland District Council - Credit: Archant

Fenland’s planners are set to team up with their counterparts in Peterborough to deliver an improved and more cost-effective service.

Councillors gave the go-ahead to the proposal on Thursday when they approved unanimously a detailed report setting out the benefits of a joint operation.

The shared planning service will save Fenland District Council £137,000 a year and a total of £446,000 by the end of 2018/19, according to the report. It said Peterborough City Council will make an annual saving of £100,000 and £325,000 in total over the same period.

But there is a get out clause for both councils if things do not go according to plan that was the assurance given by Councillor Will Sutton, planning portfolio holder.

He told members: “This is a very significant step forward. We have worked closely with Peterborough City Council over the past few years. Now we are taking that partnership to a new level. Sharing resources will not only enable us both to deliver significant savings, it will also maintain and improve aspects of the service. In addition, it has the potential to generate extra income for both councils through trading planning services with other local authorities.”

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The report stressed each council would retain “sovereignty” over planning delivery and keep their own individual planning committees.

It said: “It is clear that this proposal is not on the basis of Peterborough City Council taking over Fenland District Council’s planning team, but focussed on an equal shared service delivery model that will deliver efficiencies, improve service resilience and seek to achieve additional income for both councils.”

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The savings generated by the shared service will play a vital part in helping to meet FDC’s overall savings targets.

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