Planning more jobs
MAJOR building developments in parts of Suffolk has seen extra staff being taken on to deal with a surge of applications.Dealing with several huge developments over the past year has put planning officers at Suffolk Coastal under enormous pressure, looking at projects in great detail and preparing for a major public inquiry, while trying to keep up to date with smaller applications.
MAJOR building developments in parts of Suffolk have seen extra staff being taken on to deal with a surge of applications.
Dealing with several huge developments over the past year has put planning officers at Suffolk Coastal under enormous pressure, looking at projects in great detail and preparing for a major public inquiry, while trying to keep up to date with smaller applications.
Most of that work is now done, although officers still have several large projects on the go, including fighting a public inquiry against the council's proposals for Felixstowe south seafront.
A council spokesman said: "It is no secret that our development control teams have been burdened with some large and very time consuming planning applications over the last 12 months and as a result we are not dealing with planning applications as quickly as we would like.
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"However, we did receive some government funding to help us improve our service and this has been invested in employing some people temporarily to help us clear some of the backlog of applications and help us while we install some new software.
"Certainly work on the local plan, which is done by another team altogether, has not been affected."
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The spokesman said no planning applications had been sent to other councils in the region to be dealt with.
The biggest project officers in the planning team have had to deal with in the past year was the proposed £240 million expansion of Felixstowe port, Britain's biggest container terminal, which will double its capacity.
The planning application led to a public inquiry, and officers had to investigate a wide range of issues, including pollution, traffic, and environmental implications.
The team has also dealt with the initial proposals for the 17-acre south seafront, the major scheme to redevelop the Notcutts site in Woodbridge, and also proposals for the redevelopment of the New Street site in the riverside town.
n What do you think of the performance of Suffolk Coastal's planning department - have your projects suffered delays? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk