More meetings needed to ease council planning delays

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Extra meetings are being held in an attempt to reduce a backlog of planning applications.

In recent months, Babergh District Council’s development committee has been holding meetings twice a month, instead of only once, in an attempt to reduce the number of submissions.

Peter Beer, committee chairman and district councillor for Great Cornard, said the extra meetings were taking place on a trial basis in a bid to speed up the planning process, but could become permanent if agreed by full council.

“We are trying to reduce the delays that we have had in the past,” he said.

“We also want to encourage more pre-application discussions, especially with the bigger developments, so we can spot complications sooner and everything becomes more streamlined.”

Under government guidelines, the council is required to rule on applications within an eight-week period. However, due to the number of submissions received, this can prove difficult.

Mr Beer said he was hopeful the full council would agree to planning meetings being held every fortnight when it next meets at the start of April.

“It has worked well so far and there is every indication that everyone is reasonably happy, so there is no reason it should not go through,” he said.

“It would be a setback if it did not go ahead as we have a backlog of applications and everyone is keen to get through it.