Conservatives call for a full planning review

Councillor Geoffrey Theobald is leader of the Conservative Group on Brighton and Hove City Council
Councillor Geoffrey Theobald is leader of the Conservative Group on Brighton and Hove City Council

Geoffrey Theobald has called for a review of how planning applications are dealt with.

PlannNoticeRailingGeoffrey Theobald, leader of the Conservative Group on Brighton and Hove City Council, has called for a fundamental review of how planning applications are dealt with by the council.

In a motion to go before the next full council meeting on Thursday (October 22), he asks the council to look "at all potential options" for future management of the planning service. His motion states: “This council recognises that the ongoing problems in providing an efficient and effective planning service risk damaging relations with residents, businesses, and potential investors in the city. "

Cllr Theobald said a development management update sent to all councillors in July outlined emergency measures being introducedthat severely restricted the service to be provided to its customers.

These included scrapping face-to-face appointments and the giving to residents and businesses of pre-application advice.

His motion said: "We believe that these measures, whilst clearly well-intentioned, are symptomatic of some fundamental problems within the planning service.

"These problems have been apparent for the last few years and can only be addressed properly by carrying out a fundamental review of the service.

"The review should learn from other councils that operate alternative service delivery models for their planning function. A key part of the council’s review should include the advice of planning minister, Brandon Lewis MP, who recently told the Communities and Local Government Select Committee that councils could do 'a lot more' to cut costs and increase efficiency in planning.

“He said: 'Both economically and in terms of dealing with good planning, I think local authorities can go a lot further with shared management and the shared delivery of planning [departments], and potentially using the private sector as well.'

"Mr Lewis also said there was 'work to do' to get every council to view planning as an 'absolutely vital part of the local authority' which drives economic growth and increases income."