Monday, 6 October 2008

Plan to succeed

A few days ago I received an email from a resident, telling me about the release of some government statistics on planning departments around the country. Well, it wasn't great reading: the email stated that:

For the year ended June 2008, Waverley came
(a) 65th out of 66 local authority in the South East of England, and
(b) 334th out of 341 local authorities around the country.

[I think I heard two reponses from you there - firstly "Yikes", and secondly "Not a surprise"]

Well, I pondered over the numbers, visited the government website where the statistics can be found, and thought about how stats can be misleading of course. But, I' delighted to say, that before I had decided whether to blog or not, Matthew Evans, the new head of planning, sent the following reply, which I'm delighted to post below. Honest, apologetic, and aspirational - great response:

I would agree that performance during this period was poor.

What is important to highlight is that Council has taken a number of actions to address this - including changing work practices, restructuring the planning service and increasing capacity. I believe these will soon start to result in improvements in the speed which Waverley determines applications.

I have only been with the Council for the last month as the new Head of Planning but it is clear to me that the Council recognises the problem and is very clear about what needs to be done to address it .

I assume that your concerns reflect delays that you have experienced first hand. I can only apologise if this is the case.

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