Planning team performance is on the up

Published Monday, 15 January 2024

The council’s planning team continues to out-perform government targets with over 80% of applications being determined within eight weeks or within agreed timeframes.

However, as the government measures average performance over a two-year period, the council’s two-year average performance for minor applications is now at 62%, which is just short of the 70% target and as a result the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has written to the council to request information on performance for minor applications. This is up from 46% for the two-year average, a level of improvement within the top five councils nationally.

The council has previously been open about the severe staffing issues in its planning team in late 2020 until September 2022 which came at a time when planning applications were at an all-time high.

Since then, new members of staff have joined existing planning officers to improve the customer focus and response. This means residents have seen a vast improvement in the responses and updates to their queries in the last 15 months, while the speed of processing applications has also increased.

The council now performs consistently above the government’s performance thresholds for both minor and major applications and has done since October 2022.  As well as this, over 80 per cent of all minor applications have been turned around within target times since January 2023 which is well above the government’s target of 70 per cent. 

Executive Member for Planning Cllr Bill Crooks said:

“Unfortunately, the Government’s reporting tool focusses on a historical two-year rolling period, years October 2021 – September 2023 and as we have previously highlighted to the DLUHC and acknowledged publicly the period of 2021 and into 2022 was a difficult time for our planning department. However great strides have been made, and our current targets are at the correct level if not higher than government targets and have been for the past 15 months.”