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We need adequately resourced planning departments, says RTPI Chief Executive.

21 April 2016

A report published yesterday revealed that housebuilding in Britain grew at the slowest rate in almost three years during the first quarter of 2016. It also claimed  planning delays and uncertainty over the EU referendum were partly to blame.

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Trudi Elliot, RTPI Chief Executive said:

 “We all want more homes built but local authorities can only fully play their part in helping to achieve this if they are adequately resourced. Since 2010 local authority planning departments budgets have been cut drastically and this has impacted on delivery. We have been seeking a key amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill arguing that if the government believes planning fee flexibility is part of the answer to increasing the resources of planning departments, then they should also introduce pilots allowing local authorities themselves to trial fee flexibility in return for a better service."

Major research carried out by the RTPI in Scotland on resourcing showed a 20% reduction in planning staff in the last 5 years; £40m reduction in planning budgets over this period; that only 0.63% of LA budgets were allocated to planning; and planning fees only covered 63% of processing costs.

"Instead of creating an emergency planning force we would advocate, in addition, looking at increasing the capacity of the specialist Advisory Team for Large Applications (ATLAS) and the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) to provide invaluable support to councils."

Scot2Major research carried out by the RTPI on resourcing in Scotland showed a 20% reduction in planning staff in the last 5 years; £40m reduction in planning budgets over this period; that only 0.63% of LA budgets were allocated to planning; and planning fees only covered 63% of processing costs.

Research published by the RTPI from the North West of England found that there have been significant reductions in local planning authority budgets and staffing since 2010, with a third fewer planning staff overall, including a decrease on average of 37 per cent in planning policy staff and 27 per cent in development management staff.

Further information

Read the UK Construction market survey findings.

Read Progressing Performance: Investing in Scotland's Planning Service.