Cotswold District Council announces significant enhancements to its planning services, aimed at providing residents with a seamless experience and high-quality support.
Cllr Juliet Layton, Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulatory Services, said: “Planning services have seen a number of challenges in recent years. We had a surge in applications throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and our staff had to adapt to working from home. Having overcome these challenges, I am proud to announce significant improvements to our planning services.
“Over the past 18 months, our Development Management teams have worked hard to review planning services and put new measures in place to improve the customer experience and enhance team performance. These enhancements aim to ensure a seamless and efficient process for residents and uphold the council's commitment to delivering excellent public services.
“Planning Teams work towards a government target that requires 70% of applications be determined within 8 weeks or an agreed ‘Extension of Time’. Despite the evolving challenges we have faced since the pandemic and an increased number of applications, our Planning team's Performance has risen tremendously in the last year. Our scores for applications have increased from a low of 60% in Q1 2021/22 to recent scores of over 90% in Q3 23/24.
“I’m incredibly proud of the work our teams have done so far to improve our planning services and we will continue to make improvements to ensure high-quality services for our residents ”
Cotswold District Council’s Development Management team have implemented the following measures to improve planning services for residents and ensure a superior experience:
Digital Transformation: The Council is embracing technology where possible to support automation and speed up application processes. The Development Management team is also working on digitising planning documents to modernise the planning process. Improvements are being made to the quality and range of information available on the Council website to support customers wanting to submit planning applications.
Streamlining Processes: A new service has been created specifically for the validation process. This new service is already cutting timescales by around 60%. The Council is also working with customers to agree on appropriate ‘extensions of time' for relevant applications to ensure flexibility for customers and residents.
Recruitment: Cotswold District Council has extensively reviewed planning resources and how to attract the brightest new talent. To provide residents with the highest level of support and guidance, the council has expanded its team of planning professionals. These knowledgeable experts are readily available to assist residents at every stage of the planning process, aiming to ensure questions are promptly answered and concerns addressed.
Cotswold District Council is committed to providing a high-quality planning service. By empowering residents with user-friendly tools, expert guidance, and robust communication, the council aims to create an environment where residents can easily navigate the planning process and actively contribute to the district's growth and prosperity.
The council invites residents to explore the upgraded planning services and experience the enhanced customer journey firsthand. For more information and to access the improved planning services, visit: cotswold.gov.uk/planning