Headlines: July 28th, 2008

More money is being made available to improve planning services in Wales. It will include some funding for a small number of bursaries for future planners. The announcement comes just days after a committee of Westminster MPs said shortages of staff and of skills
meant planning authorities might struggle to meet Government targets on regeneration and building new homes.

The allocation of extra funds in Wales was announced by the Welsh Assembly Environment, Sustainability and Housing Minister, Jane Davidson. She said specific funding had already been announced for the 25 Welsh local planning authorities for improvements to the planning service in their areas.

“I am now pleased to announce further allocations to fund a range of Wales-wide projects, and to support key partners who work alongside planning authorities in delivering the planning service,? she said.

The Minister said the focus had to be be on delivery and the extra money was being made available for local planning authorities handling applications for large-scale wind farms, training for elected members on the new style Local Development Plans, and on development management and for further development of
the Planning Portal in Wales. This will include supporting a bilingual standard application form for everyone applying for planning permission.

In a move to invest in the future workforce, some of the new money will also be for the provision of a limited number of student planning bursaries through the Department for City and Regional Planning at Cardiff University.

Jane Davidson added, “While local planning authorities have the key role in the planning system, these allocations also recognise the importance of other key partners working with LPAs in delivering an efficient, effective and open planning service.”