Still waiting for determination of that planning application for a room in the roof? The Audit Commission has suggested that local authorities overcome the chronic shortage of planners by pooling their resources and using the private sector more.
Councils across the UK and particularly in the south-east continue to struggle with shortages as councils find planning posts almost as difficult to fill as social workers (Brighton & Hove has seven vacancies).
A few Councils have tackled the problem by using the private sector e.g. Birmingham, Redditch, Berkshire, High Peak and Salford for everyday applications, which liberates staff to deal with more contentious or complicated developments.
The Commission also suggests that local authorities could pool their resources so that when they have applications for particularly difficult sites (perhaps contaminated or geologically challenging) they could call upon expertise from a neighbouring authority for some expertise.
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