Postcode planning lottery

IT IS another postcode lottery!Ipswich residents stand a better chance of getting planning applications dealt with swiftly than those who live in Mid Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal or Babergh areas, the Evening Star can reveal.

IT IS another postcode lottery!

Ipswich residents stand a better chance of getting planning applications dealt with swiftly than those who live in Mid Suffolk, Suffolk Coastal or Babergh areas, the Evening Star can reveal.

That is the stark conclusion of a government survey that shows the staggering disparity between Suffolk councils performance on deciding on planning issues.

Government officials have ranked Mid Suffolk District Council in the bottom ten planning authorities while Ipswich Borough Council is just outside the top ten in 11th place.

Out of the 293 authorities, Mid Suffolk was close to propping up the bottom of the league table based on figures drawn from between March 2001 and March this year.

The league charts council performance according to the government target of deciding on 80 per cent of applications within eight weeks.

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Mid Suffolk made 1,811 decisions during the year. But that figure represents fewer than half of the applications received and shows planning bosses have slipped down nearly seven per cent from last year.

The planning department at Ipswich, however, has cause to be cheerful. Officials there have shown a slight improvement on the year before by making sure that just over 87 per cent of applications are dealt with promptly. They decided on a total of 969.

Babergh District Council is middle-ranking, standing at 149 after processing two thirds of its applications within the target time.

Suffolk Coastal, which ruled on 1,761 applications, is ranked 201st.

Set by the then Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions, John Prescott's Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which has now assumed control over local government matters, published the figures this week.

Planning minister Lord Rooker said that businesses and communities expect fast and efficient planning services.

"Across England that service can be inconsistent and inefficient. Whilst some authorities have improved, and that is encouraging, they must not become complacent. There is still much room for improvement," he said.

Suffolk County Council was also assessed, although it only ruled on 25 'county matters' such as the building of schools, mineral and waste developments.

Weblinks:

www.ipswich.gov.uk

www.midsuffolk.gov.uk

www.babergh.gov.uk

www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk

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