Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Rebuilding Confidence in Planning Department

New procedures have been put in place to reassure people that the planning process at West Lindsey District Council is open and transparent.

An Audit Commission report into governance within the planning department is due to be published soon, but Planning Committee Chairman, Cllr. Chris Underwood-Frost, Conservative (Scotter Ward), has decided to introduce some changes immediately.

From Wednesday, 6th January 2010, meetings of the Committee will be web-cast to allow members of the public to watch proceedings live on the internet.

Speaking shortly before the festive period Cllr. Underwood-Frost said:

"We will also be reminding councillors of the Members’ Code of Conduct and the Standards Board for England’s DVD of the new code will be played at the start of the next meeting"

Other changes include:

  • Planning Briefings for councillors will be rescheduled for two weeks before meetings to bring them in line with other committees.
  • Clarity on the roles of Councillors and Officers has been reissued
  • The Interim Service Manager for Planning will be available for half an hour before meetings to answer questions from councillors on the reports for consideration
  • Councillors are being urged to check technical details of applications with the officer named in the report prior to the committee.

Cllr. Underwood-Frost said:

"I have also asked for public participation at Planning Committee to be reviewed and good practice from other Councils be investigated to ensure that the public has the best possible opportunity to make their views heard.

"We will obviously be looking carefully at any recommendations made in the Audit Commission report, but in the meantime I hope that these changes will begin to rebuild confidence in the planning service provided by West Lindsey District Council."

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