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New cash fund for Welsh council planners

Planning authorities in Wales are to be given more funding to help improve their services

Environment minister Jane Davidson said council planning departments will get an extra £2 million.

Changes are being made to the way the funding is distributed. Planning authorities will need to apply for money out of a £1.75 million fund intended for support work identified by the Assembly Government. Another £250,000 is to be spent improving the service nationally, especially website services.

The minister said the cost of submitting planning applications in Wales will not be raised this April but hinted that fee increases will be on the cards in the near future. She said the Welsh Assembly Government will be changing the planning fee structure later in the year to reflect any improvements made to the planning application process.

Davidson said: ‘I am keen to ensure that this money is used as effectively as possible.

‘That is why as well as £1.75 million being available to all local planning authorities in Wales, an additional £250,000 will be used to fund cross-Wales work, including continuing to support the online planning portal that is vital to helping us improve the planning application process for businesses and individuals across Wales.’

From April 2011 planning authorities can get funding for work to improve local services and which is focused on three themes:

:: Preparing local development plans and handling planning applications

:: Improving local planning authorities’ capacity to provide a better local service relating to the policy priorities of the Assembly Government.

:: Technical assistance enabling local planning authorities to better assess applications relating to renewable energy and waste treatment, and which reflect Assembly Government priorities.

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