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Planning ratings soar as South Hams goes top of the table

South Hams District Council’s development management department
has seen its rating for processing major planning applications soar from
the bottom of the table to the top in just three months. The improvement
has been brought about by changes to the structure and processes and
additional resources and manpower being brought in to the department.
The table is based on the percentage of major applications processed in
13 weeks and in the first quarter of this year from January to March only
44% were processed within time. Now according to Devon-wide figures
from the DCLG from April to June South Hams planners processed 86%
of their applications within the 13 weeks – well above the Government’s
minimum targets. And ahead of Exeter with 75%, and Teignbridge
£62.5%.
The Department for Communities and Local Government now ranks local
authorities across the country for the speed and accuracy with which
they make decisions. Minimum targets for planning authorities are that
60% of major applications should be determined within 13 weeks; 65% of
minor applications should be determined within eight weeks and 80% of
other applications should be determined within eight weeks.
South Hams Head of Planning Economy and Community Marion Playle
said: “This is a major morale booster for the planning staff who have
been working under difficult circumstances and great news for the council
itself. “ Marion added: “We are pleased that our re-structure and the
investment of additional resources is now paying off and we are seeing
performance improve significantly. “Planning is a tough job as we seek
to support growth to meet the needs of communities whilst, at the same
time, trying to protect the very beautiful place that is the South Hams.”
Councillor Michael Hicks, South Hams Executive Member for Planning
Economy and Community, said: “Any improvement as impressive as this
has to be the result of teamwork and focus by all members of the planning
department. Long may it continue.”

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