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Hampshire planners face axe as council architects accept redundancy

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Hampshire County Council (HCC) is set to cut its planning team by a quarter in a bid to offset a £55 million reduction in government funding while offering voluntary redundancy to staff in its architecture office

The council confirmed it intended to reduce its planning team from 26 to 20 as part of wider plans by its environment and transport department to reduce its workforce by 70, while it also revealed that the department’s management team met last week to consider applications for voluntary redundancy.

Mel Kendal, the council’s executive member for environment and transport, revealed that HCC needed to maintain a planning resource ‘including officers at senior management level’ as it is the minerals and waste planning authority for Hampshire.

He said: ‘With the introduction of the Localism Bill leading to the demise of the residual strategic planning role for the county council, we simply cannot justify the level of resource that we had previously dedicated to this area.’

Kendal also said that the reduction in posts would not necessarily lead to redundancies, adding: ‘Since in many cases individuals have transferable skills that will be redeployed in other areas of the department.

‘Projected reductions in terms of the number of planning posts also includes those currently on temporary fixed-term contracts that will not be renewed.’

Architect Richard Gooden, who recently left his job at the council, said the reduction in capital grant and the end of BSF had forced Hampshire County Council to ‘review its staff profile and make sensible adjustments’.

He added: ‘The small number of staff who have left the architectural practice have done so under very acceptable voluntary redundancy arrangements.’

Meanwhile, the council also confirmed that Stuart Roberts, its head of spatial strategy and research, had taken early retirement.

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