Report finds planning system in Wales is under resourced

Real Estate

Jun 07, 2019

Local planning authorities in Wales lack the resilience needed to deliver long term improvements in terms of housing and communities, an official report has found.

The study from the Wales Audit Office says that planning service have seen budgets cut by 50% over the last decade, leading to the stretching of planning officer capacity and a decrease in skills in key areas.

Problems have been further exacerbated by a drop in the number of trainees entering the profession and a lack of communication between planning offices and the public.

Indeed, it found that 67% of people questioned felt that local planning authorities are not effectively engaging with them in their planning proposals. Many also said that they felt that planners were focussed more on individual applications than supporting the creation of a better and more sustainable society.

The Royal Town Planning Institute Cymru has called for more resources for the planning profession. ‘This is essential if local authorities are to deliver local plans, act in accordance with sustainable development principles and contribute to the wellbeing of people and communities,’ said director Roisin Willmott.

‘The RTPI has been taking measures to promote careers in planning which we hope will encourage an increased and more diverse entry into the profession. However, these developments will not be enough on their own, without proper resourcing,’ she pointed out.

Willmott acknowledged that the planning profession must continue to improve at communicating with the public. ‘Working with incredibly limited resources, local authority planning teams in Wales are doing sterling work in supporting the development of new homes, promoting conservation, improving local infrastructure, and ultimately, creating a better and more sustainable society,’ she added.

‘The Government and local authorities need to work in partnership to improve performance and resilience of planning services and the RTPI looks forward to supporting this activity