Planning authorities “need to explain themselves better”

(Title Image: Wales Audit Office)

A Wales Audit Office report on planning authorities (pdf) revealed concerns from the public that planning authorities weren’t doing enough to provide good quality information and were overly focused on single planning applications instead of working to create sustainable communities.

“Based on the findings of this audit, the Auditor General has concluded that Planning Authorities are not resilient enough to deliver long-term improvements because of their limited capacity and the challenge of managing a complex system.”
– Wales Audit Office

70% of people who responded to a survey said planning authorities didn’t do enough to highlight the potential impact of new developments, with the report also highlighting reduced budgets and reduced numbers of planning trainees as having a negative impact on the service.

The Audit Office has recommended, amongst other things, changing the timing and location of planning meetings to encourage greater public engagement; setting planning fees to properly reflect the cost of providing planning services and also providing clear reporting to reduce the number of planning officer recommendations that are overturned (9% of planning decisions in 2017-18).

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