Preston Council planning department out of special measures risk

Preston Town Hall

Preston Town Hall

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Preston Council’s planning department has made massive improvements since it was left on the brink of special measures, Town Hall bosses have announced.

It was agreed in December 2015 that the council would streamline the planning process to try to speed up decisions, after it was left with a logjam of applications.

And the authority’s planning committee was yesterday told the new measures had been “extremely successful”, with the department now out of danger of becoming “designated”.

Progress had been shown last year, but leaders still didn’t know what the percentage threshold for major and minor applications, set by government, was going to be.

Alison Kershaw, the council’s deputy director of development, told the meeting: “Members of the committee will be aware of the situation regarding the government’s designation regime for planning authorities.

“Members will also be aware of a report taken to council in December 2015 which highlighted the issues and proposed a package of measures to improve performance.

“I’m pleased to report that those measures have been extremely successful and performance has improved significantly from the situation we were in.

“At the end of November the government finally announced the thresholds for major and non-major applications, and we have exceeded the threshold for both of those criteria so we will not be designated and performance has continued to improve.”

Councillors thanked the planning teams, and Alison Kershaw added: “It really has been a team effort of officers working with members and that’s appreciated.”