Streamlining for faster planning

PUBLISHED: 12:05 25 August 2006 | UPDATED: 22:07 28 May 2010

FENLAND is booming and the council has streamlined its planning and legal systems to provide a faster and supportive service to developers. More and more developers are welcoming the council s pre-applications protocol which is designed to save time and m

FENLAND is booming and the council has streamlined its planning and legal systems to provide a faster and supportive service to developers.

More and more developers are welcoming the council's pre-applications protocol which is designed to save time and money by helping to iron out any potential problems before major applications are submitted for approval.

The council has also become one of only a handful of authorities in the country to create the new post of planning agreement compliance officer to track Section 106 Agreements and ensure money is paid on time by developers. The agreements, which are a condition of planning consent being granted, cover ancilliary community-based benefits, provided or paid for by developers.

The demand for housing and business premises in Fenland is expanding rapidly and the number of developments being built or in the pipeline across the district, reflects that demand.

The council's Open for Business agenda is to encourage inward investment into Fenland in order to broaden the economic base of the district. The protocol has been built into the planning process in order to assist developers in playing their part in the expanding economic life of Fenland.

By working more closely with the council's legal team, planning officers are now turning around more than 60 per cent of major applications within 13 weeks and minor applications within eight weeks.

The council is not resting on its laurels, though. Plans are already afoot to further improve application processing times. This includes, drawing up the Section 106 Agreements in parallel with the planning application process to reduce timescales still further.

The closer links between the planning and legal teams are already promoting a more seamless, proactive advice and support network for which developers are already expressing their appreciation.

Leader of the council, Councillor Geoffrey Harper, said: "We are totally committed to helping good quality developers progress their plans with as little delay as possible. Our streamlined planning processes send a clear message that we are keen to facilitate the inward investment and economic expansion of Fenland.

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