Sheffield places 'up to 28' planning and urban design roles under review

Up to 28 full-time planning and urban design jobs at Sheffield City Council, including 14 planning policy roles, could be at risk as part of a proposed service restructuring, Planning has learned.

Sheffield Town Hall. Image: Wikimedia
Sheffield Town Hall. Image: Wikimedia

Bob Johnson, cabinet member for transport and development, reported to a full council meeting last week that the authority’s planning service was "going through a MER (Managing Employee Reduction) restructure".

Johnson informed councillors that the planning team’s proposed new structure would mean the loss of roles including "a specific access officer post". 

However, he declined to provide details of the number or nature of other jobs at risk and said the proposed restructuring was the subject of a "collective dispute".

"It is not possible to state the exact number of staff that will be recruited back into the new planning structure as this will depend upon how many are successful in the internal recruitment process and how many choose to request voluntary redundancy," he said.

He added: "Access issues would be dealt with by the development management and building control functions, as is the case in the majority of councils."

According to an internal council document seen by Planning, the authority is proposing to reduce the size of its planning and building control service by 36 full-time equivalent roles, from 100 (including vacancies) down to 64.

The planning policy team would be cut by 14.4 roles, the development management team by just 0.1 and the building control team by eight.

Meanwhile, the 22.5-strong urban design team would be cut completely but some functions, including landscape, would be retained, leaving nine posts. 

Green Party councillor Douglas Johnson told Planning: "There is simply no case for these job losses. It will do enormous damage to the city."

A spokeswoman for the council said: "We are consulting with officers in the planning team on proposals to make the required savings put upon us. 

"Our priority and main concern is our members of staff that are affected at this time, and all their concerns will be discussed prior to any decisions being made."

Last week, Sheffield City Council delayed the timetable for producing its local plan by five years, attributing the move to changes in government policy.

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