This is the proposal, tucked away in section C of the Appendix of the report to the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny committee, which caused residents to raise concerns about cuts to the planning service:
S4301 Planning Service – new and revised service delivery 0 (32,500) (42,500) (42,500) (42,500)
Revisions to the services we provide, or the way in which they are provided to users. This includes changes to the way in which we review, consult, make decisions (scheme of delegation) or the explicit service that we offer – building upon recognised expertise nationally for place making. The income/reduced costs highlighted are estimates based upon an assessment of market conditions/demand but also depend upon our ability to account for and “harness” reductions in costs of postage/printing and redeploy staff from existing tasks (e.g. Committee meetings). In the case of changes to consultation, an estimate for investment in year 1 (of £10K) is included in the potential saving.
FeCRA took up these issues on residents behalf and some who wrote to object have now received letters saying that this was all a misunderstanding and there will be no reductions to these important Council planning services. The wording in the report is very ambiguous so it is good news if cuts are not proposed – and would not in any case have the support of councillors.