Guildford planning chief steps down

Guildford Borough Council's head of planning has stepped down to 'pursue other personal and career opportunities'.

Guildford: planning chief has stepped down (picture by Charlotte Gilhooly)
Guildford: planning chief has stepped down (picture by Charlotte Gilhooly)

The council said following Carol Humphrey’s departure its executive head of development, Chris Mansfield, will initially lead the planning service, but it added that it was looking into the appointment of an interim head of planning.

Sue Sturgeon, managing director for Guildford Borough Council, said the council would continue to conduct its "business as usual".

She said: "The important process to develop the new local plan will carry on as already outlined, including the current public consultation on the draft local plan."

Earlier this month the council’s customer and community scrutiny committee considered plans to undertake a fundamental service review of the council’s planning service.

A council report revealed a number of priority areas for improvement, pointing out that the working relationship between officers and councillors is at times "under strain".

Other areas for improvement included a need for the policy team to evolve and "become more embedded within the wider council, particularly as the local plan moves towards adoption and delivery".

It added: "Development control and enforcement activities in comparison with other local authorities show potential for streamlining and delivering quicker processing. Stakeholder and applicant or agent interviews provided some negative feedback for development control. There is a need to embed a responsive and consistent approach to customer care."

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