New cost for pre-plan­ning ad­vice

The Oban Times - - News -

THE coun­cil may be­gin charg­ing for the ad­vice it gives on build­ing plans later this year.

Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil’s plan­ning de­part­ment cur­rently of­fers peo­ple free ad­vice be­fore they sub­mit plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions, but its pop­u­lar­ity is putting pres­sure on re­duced re­sources.

De­vel­op­ment man­ager Peter Bain, speak­ing at Con­nel Com­mu­nity Coun­cil on Thurs­day last week, said the plan­ning bud­get had seen a ser­vice cut of 25 per cent over the past two years.

‘We have had more than 2,000 for­mal ap­pli­ca­tions submitted over 2016,’ he said, with 1,200 writ­ten sub­mis­sions for pre-plan­ning ad­vice in 2016-17.

An­gus Gil­mour, head of plan­ning and reg­u­la­tory ser­vices, said an in­tro­duc­tion is likely in the sum­mer this year, but there will need to be ‘a lead-in time so we do not spring it on the pub­lic’.

An Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil spokesper­son later told The

Oban Times: ‘Like all lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, we are hav­ing to make changes to how we work to pro­tect ser­vices as much as pos­si­ble from the im­pact of sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced fund­ing.

‘The coun­cil took the de­ci­sion at last year’s bud­get-set­ting meet­ing to introduce charges for pre-ap­pli­ca­tion ad­vice in pre­par­ing plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions.

‘ We are de­vel­op­ing the level of ad­vice avail­able with­out charge on our web­site. As plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions vary in com­plex­ity, we are es­tab­lish­ing a slid­ing scale of fees so that, where peo­ple still need ad­vice from us, cost is matched fairly to the scale of the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion.

‘We ex­pect charges to be in­tro­duced in the sum­mer.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.