Planning services in Wales are struggling to manage a complex system in the face of insufficient capacity and reducing resources. That’s according to a new report issued by the Auditor General for Wales.
The report shows that all planning services have seen budget cuts of 50% in the last ten years, considering inflation.
With less money to fund services, planning officer capacity is stretched and skills are decreasing in key areas. Furthermore, the number of trainees entering planning has fallen in recent years, raising concerns over the long-term sustainability of services.
The report also brings together public views from a Wales-wide survey, where a growing disconnect was found between what people want from their planning authority and what their planning authority is able to deliver.
Around 67% of people surveyed stated that local planning authorities are not effectively engaging with them about their planning proposals, and many feel that planners are focused more on individual applications rather than supporting the creation of a better and more sustainable society.
The Auditor General for Wales, Adrian Crompton said: “I am concerned that most local planning authorities have not clearly defined how planning services contribute to the wellbeing of people and communities.”