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Mayor's concern over planning department cuts

 
Created on 10/02/2020 @ 18:18
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Newtown's Mayor has voiced concern about proposed cuts to Powys County Council's planning department.

Councillors who form Powys County Council’s planning committee have been urged to tell the cabinet of their concerns about cuts to the planning service.

In the 2020/21 draft budget £464,000 of cuts/cost reduction have been put forward by the Property, Planning and Public Protection Service.

Of this £196,000 would be saved by “redesigning”  development management and planning policy teams.

At the planning committee meeting, Newtown mayor and county councillor, Cllr David Selby, said: “Having attended a scrutiny meeting (economy, residents communities and governance) where we were looking at the proposed changes, I was very concerned about the proposals that affect the planning department.

“I’m not sure that all members of planning committee have been briefed on what these changes will be or the structure that, in my view, will reduce staffing to levels we should not accept.

“Could I ask that all members are made aware and the papers sent to committee members, giving us the opportunity of raising it as individuals in time for the next cabinet meeting.”

Committee chairman, Cllr Karl Lewis said that this would be done.

Later in the committee meeting while discussing flooding issues that affected part of field where 41 homes had been proposed to be built on the outskirts of Caersws.

The applicants needed to show that they had included drainage systems in the plans  so that they comply with Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) legislation.

This would be looked at and approved by PCC’s Sustainable Drainage Approval Body (SAB).

Cllr Elwyn Vaughan asked: “If a site like this is given permission, an important point here is monitoring and whether that will take place. Do we have the staff and resources to do this work adequately?

“Can we have assurances that the resources is there to monitor this?”

Planning development manager, Peter Morris, replied: “In terms of having the staff and powers for enforcement, yes they are still there and are things that we do.”

At a scrutiny meeting on January 29, where this cut was discussed, head of planning, property and public protection, Gwilym Davies, said that he had concerns about: “potential impacts on service provision and the ability to complete the work.”

In total PCC need to make £11 million of cuts in the 2020/21 budget which also proposes to increase the council tax by five per cent.

 

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporting Service

 

 

 

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