Commission applauds Welwyn efforts

Welwyn Hatfield District Council's planning service is fair and set to improve, according to an Audit Commission report.

Last week's Best Value inspection report says that the council's planning department has been "successful in many areas". It notes that the local authority has set clear aims for the service that reflect a good balance of local and national priorities.

The inspectors recognised that a strong policy framework, including an up-to-date local plan, has improved quality of life in the district, as well as delivering housing, business premises and transport infrastructure and ensuring high-quality design.

But they also observed that there have been delays in deciding planning applications and noted that customers "perceive there to be inconsistencies in the quality of service".

However, they accepted that there is a strong commitment to improve planning and commended the local authority's investment in the service.

Welwyn Hatfield planning chief Chris Conway said: "We are very pleased that the inspectors have taken a positive view of the outputs of the service. After all, what is built on the ground is the most important thing."

Welwyn Hatfield Best Value Inspection Report can be viewed via www.PlanningResource.co.uk.


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