EXCLUSIVE: Enforcement ‘creaking and inefficient’, relationships ‘fuzzy’ and no financial control concludes planning findings

15:24 11 April 2014

Fenland Hall, March

Fenland Hall, March

Archant

An inquiry into the planning department of Fenland Council has concluded enforcement is “creaking and inefficient”, it lacks “”performance and financial management” and relationships between staff and councillors are “fuzzy”.

The devastating assessment has been revealed in confidential papers leaked from within the Conservative group of Fenland Council.

The quotes come from minutes of the last group meeting and reflect the views of outgoing leader Alan Melton.

Cllr Melton said today the minutes were accurate “but you shouldn’t have had them since they are confidential- but in essence they are true”.

He said he addressed colleagues following a meeting with the Planning Advisory Service, an outside agency undertaking a review of planning within Fenland at the request of the district council.

“Planning Advisory Service had concluded their review and a draft report promised within three weeks,” the minutes reveal.

“Preliminary findings had been shared. Some issues of serious concerns with both members and officers. Enforcement was creaking and ineffective, no performance or financial management, no unit costs nor business centre costs”.

The report also reveals that Cllr Melton mentioned the PAS had found “relationship between senior managers and members was fuzzy with no clear demarcation lines.”

However one bright note was the PAS assessment of the committee structure which they described as “good and governance role was clear”.

But they also have criticised “poor body language which indicated relationship problems between members and officers”.

The report by PAS is expected to ensure more rigorous pre-application processes and local councils invited to have more input into projects which will help their communities. This, concludes PAS, is currently “sadly lacking”

The report to councillors also pointed out that “public image of the planning service and committee is poor. Suggest record or tele-record all committee meetings. Committee procedures must be tighter.”

The final report from PAS is expected to be handed to the new leader once he or she is appointed after May 1.

Next step will be an action plan and ongoing monitoring of new procedures.

0 comments

More news stories

15 minutes ago
Alan Chamberlain

A Whittlesey man convicted of a number of “horrific” historical sex offences has been jailed for 15 years.

Yesterday, 11:50
An amount of the dried bud recovered during the raid in Haddenham

Fifty cannabis plants and approximately 850 grams of dried bud thought to be worth around £6,000 at current street value were recovered during a raid in Haddenham yesterday.

Yesterday, 16:50
Cheryl Pinner with Assistant Chief Constable, Dan Vajzovic

A retired police detective who played a key role in bringing two rapists to justice has been honoured for her ‘outstanding’ work.

David Walker was caught after a woman saw his hand holding a camera in the changing rooms of a Hatfield swimming pool

A pervert who secretly filmed hundreds of women was finally caught after he filmed a woman in the changing rooms of a swimming pool.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up