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

11 minutes ago
Staff at Sainsbury's in Ely entering into the Red Nose Day spirit

Red Nose Day is back and Sainsbury’s in Ely has promised to help customers and colleagues raise funds and take up this year’s challenge to ‘make your face funny for money’.

Yesterday, 17:29

A man was rushed to hospital this morning (Thursday) after becoming trapped between the forks of a forklift truck on an industrial estate.

Yesterday, 08:57
At Ely Beet Club, Members of the Ely & District Branch of the Korean Veterans Association, receive their medals from the Korean Government, (left) President Godfrey Tetley, with Bernard Barker, John Booth, Ted Fairchild, John Gadsby, Jim Johnson, Ken Lambert, Maurice Sheldrake, John Stevens, Kenneth Waters, Stanley White.

Veterans who served in the Korean War received a medal from the Korean government to honour their contribution at a special ceremony held in Ely last Thursday.

Yesterday, 07:13
Some of the mess left behind at Roswell Pits, in Ely.
Pictures: Clinton Edwards.

An Ely beauty spot and wildlife haven has been tarnished by mounds of rubbish left behind by people sleeping rough, according to walkers.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition today E-edition