Council receives £570k planning grant

Winchester City Council planning development services has been awarded £570,445 under the Government's Planning Delivery Grant for 2004/5 in recognition of their improvement in performance over the past year.

Last year they received nearly £300,000 and the increased amount reflects overall improvement in meeting government targets in dealing with applications, and for progress towards adoption of the new local plan.

The Council's Environment and Access Performance Improvement Committee will be debating how the allocation can be spent in the next year when it meets on 15 March.

The grant is given to drive up performance in the delivery of planning functions. This includes: development control; forward plans; local development frameworks; regional planning; IT development; assistance from consultants; outsourcing of services; increasing staffing levels; training for staff and councillors; mediation services; encouraging a diverse planning workforce; and bursaries to gain planning qualifications.

Development Services Director Robin Cooper said it was a just reward for the hard work and dedication put in by all those involved in delivering the planning service, while Council Leader Sheila Campbell added her congratulations to the planning teams in their entirety.

"This is a terrific achievement to which all staff have contributed. It has taken a great deal of hard work, often having to deal with emotive planning cases generating a great deal of public interest and comment, to get through the work over the year," she said.