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Council gains £100,000 grant to clear planning application backlog

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St Albans City and District Council has gained a £100,000 Government grant to help clear a backlog of 400 planning applications.

The money will be used to deploy extra staff resources to help deal with the backlog which built up during the Covid public health emergency.

It should eventually result in the average time for processing applications reduce form its current 18 weeks.

The Council has one of the busiest planning departments in the country, receiving more than 3,000 applications a year for work ranging from extensions to major housing developments.

Currently, it has the capacity to decide on an average of 68 applications a week – enough to deal with expected submissions.

However, the lockdowns and staff sickness during Covid followed by high staff turnover resulted in a backlog of applications building up. Many other local authorities were similarly affected.

This issue has now been recognised by the Government which has awarded the Council £100,000 extra funding from its Planning Skills Delivery Fund.

More than 100 other planning authorities from around the country have also received a grant to carry out similar work.

Councillor Chris White, the Council Leader, said: 

Our planning team is working flat out to process the thousands of applications they receive each year as well as the Covid backlog.

We put forward a compelling case to the Government that financial help was needed to reduce the backlog and I am pleased that this has been recognised with the award of a £100,000 grant.

Our Budget is under enormous pressure in the current financial climate and this shows how we committed we are to gain new sources of funding for the benefit of our residents.

This extra money should eventually bring down the time required to process applications back to pre-Covid levels.

Media contact:  John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer: 01727- 819533;