Planning department job cuts are ‘out of touch’

Councillor Steven Lambert
Councillor Steven Lambert

Planning officers at the district council are being axed despite an opposition leader warning the department is ‘not coping’.

Following a recent restructure, 13 planning posts are to be axed at Aylesbury Vale District Council, in a move which is expected to take two years.

The council says that the changes are necessary and will help to reduce costs incurred after the authorty’s government grant was lost.

But Steven Lambert, leader of the Liberal Democrats at the council criticised the move, saying that it would lead to a worse service for taxpayers.

He said: “I think that if there was ever an administration that showed itself to be out of touch with what their bread and butter issue was this is it. We won’t have anyone in the district council that can manage ordinary applications. They are not coping with the workload they’ve got now.They need more staff and at a time when the department is vulnerable this will make it even worse.”

News of the redundancies comes as it was announced bosses from the authority will join MP David Lidington for a crunch meeting with government planning minister Nick Boles after the council’s local plan was deemed unsound by a national inspector, who said that the number of homes proposed was too low.

It leaves the Vale open to more planning applications for large-scale development.

A council spokesman, said: “These posts will be lost through a mix of voluntary redundancy, not refilling posts that are currently vacant, internal re-organisation and a few compulsory redundancies.

“Our priority is to ensure that we provide an efficient and effective service across all these specialist areas and at a level that we can afford.

“We are constantly exploring ways of ensuring our service is fit for purpose, streamlining wherever 
possible and the recent review of the activities in this area has identified that these are changes that we can make and still operate an effective service.”