Council expands to deal with spike in planning activity

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 3 Sep 2014


A big jump in planning applications has prompted the London Borough of Sutton to expand its planning team.

The council is recruiting a planning officer and two deputy planning area managers.

Between January and July the council said it saw a 48 per cent jump in applications against last year, mostly for housing.

Head of development management and strategic planning Andy Webber told Planning: “Geographically we are a small borough and in terms of commercial investment are trying to keep our place at the table with neighbouring boroughs such as Croydon and Kingston.

“For example, in terms of development opportunities there are areas where we hope to identify growth potential to meet demands made by the housing crisis. We have growth areas around Sutton town centre and places like Hackbridge.

“We are anticipating lots of major applications coming on stream and there is already a good deal of pre-application work around that, which is taking up a lot of time. There are also repercussions from increasing birth rates and the need to fund capacity for schools.

“In a world of dwindling resources and structural changes in the department, it's a busy and unrelenting time and we need capacity to get our processes leaner.”

He said the council's Opportunity Sutton initiative had to date secured £322m of new investment and plans for a local authority-led housing company and proposals for a Tramlink extension made Sutton a hotbed of planning activity. 

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