The threat of the council’s planning department being placed under ‘special measures’ is now ‘highly unlikely’ according to the cabinet member responsible for housing.
Horsham District Council claims it has radically improved its performance on determining planning applications in recent months.
Earlier this year the County Times revealed that HDC was under threat of being placed in special measures by central Government, which could have seen it stripped of its planning powers.
This was down to the time it was taking to determine major planning applications.
Performance has been increased across all types of application with over 90 per cent of major applications being determined within government targets in the last three months, more than 65 per cent of minor applications, and 82 per cent of other applications.
Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater), HDC’s cabinet member for living and working communities, said: “I am delighted at the way in which the council has responded to changes needed in the way it determines major planning applications.
“We are committed to reviewing every aspect of our determination of applications to ensure that we continue to still make good decisions and not just quick decisions.
“As a consequence, it now appears highly unlikely that the council will be at risk of being designated for ‘special measures’ later this month.”
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government, is expected to make a final decision later this month and will be based on performance to the end of June.
One of the actions was to appoint a planning improvement expert, Sim Manley, who has been making changes to how the council performs its planning function and to improve the focus on getting decisions out quicker.
For more information about planning at HDC, visit the council’s website or call 01403 215187.