Council released from “special measures” designation

Blaby District Council OfficesBlaby District Council has been released from a Government “special measures” designation following huge improvements in its planning services.

After it was designated as “poorly performing” in November 2013, the Council’s planning service has transformed its performance and is now within the top quartile of local authorities nationally.

The Government sets a target of 13 weeks for major planning applications to be determined. Any planning authority that fails to determine 30% of all such applications within this target timescale will be placed in “special measures” which means major applications can be submitted direct to the Planning Inspectorate rather than being determined locally.

At the point that Blaby District Council was designated and placed in “special measures” only 18.18% of major applications had been determined within 13 weeks over a two year period. Blaby District Council was the only district authority to be designated under this performance regime.

Working in partnership with the Government and the Planning Advisory Service, Blaby District Council has implemented an extensive programme of improvements and, when reassessed in June 2014, 62% of major applications had been determined in time over a two year period. Using this simple measure, Blaby is now the most improved planning service in the country and one of the highest performing in Leicestershire.

Cllr Tony Greenwood MBE, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Development and Housing Strategy at Blaby District Council, said:

”When we were put in special measures we were at pains to stress that we prefer to work proactively with developers to ensure a high quality development rather than focus purely on an arbitrary Government timescale.

“The Council has stuck to its principals and continues to prioritise customer service and good development over speed. It’s now even clearer our approach is right; during the year of designation only one developer from approximately 50 major planning applications has chosen to apply directly to the Inspectorate rather than work with the Council.

“The improvements in planning application performance combined with our up-to-date Core Strategy, an approved urban extension of 4,250 homes and our excellent customer relationships reinforce that Blaby is an excellent planning authority.”

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