Headlines: December 21st, 1999

PLANNINGThe eight month selection process to find the pace setting councils which can be held up as centres of excellence has ended with the announcement of the 42 winners. The councils will hold beacon status until April 2001. Copeland and Halton Borough Councils are facing a heavy programme of visits from colleagues because they are the sole winners of beacon status for the theme of modernising planning. In contrast 17 councils are beacons for sustainable development. Two councils were commended for modernising their planning systems, but failed to get beacon status because their performance on turnaround of planning applications was below the Government’s target of 80% in 8 weeks.

Over 200 councils, about half the total, applied for beacon status and a short list of 68 was drawn up in September. The shortlisted councils were visited by officials of the Department for Environment Transport and the Regions and representatives of the Improvement and Development Agency. This was followed by presentations to the Advisory Panel who recommended which councils should be awarded beacon status.

There will be a feedback conference in January 2000 for the 170 councils that failed to achieve beacon status.

The beacons have arranged a programme of open days to show colleagues what they have done and details are available from the DETR.

Link www.detr.gov.uk/9912/1216.htm