Place and Economic Development Committee –
Managing Director’s Update
6th September 2021
As a point of information the Committee noted that
the City had decided not to bid to become the next City of Culture.
It was asked where this decision had been made and recorded. It was
confirmed that it had not been a matter for this meeting, but a
written response would be provided to Members.
This matter has not been the recent subject of an
agenda item for any officer or Member meeting.
Quarter 1 Performance Report 2021/22
Review of the SWDP - confirmation requested of
Agenda item for 6th September PED
City Centre Masterplan, update requested, also had
the archaeology report been completed as the Archaeological Officer
had left the City Council?
Progressing - expected to be finalised end of Autumn
Awaiting final archaeology reports (internal review
needs to be progressed) as well as integrated drainage report
(model has been built and various options/scenarios are currently
being run/explored, with a target date of 15th October
2021 for completion).
Planning applications determined within 8
weeks, clarity requested on whether due to staff and /or
Whilst there have been no direct incidents of
Covid 19 within the DM team, the
requirement to work from home has had an significant impact upon it
operational, particularly with respect of the more junior officers
in receiving the day-to-day support associated with working within
The indirect impact of Covid 19 is more significant as it has resulted in
a marked increase in the numbers of applications being received by
WCC (a 23% increase in cases); a phenomenon being experienced
across the county. This is probably due to the people working from
home more and wanting more space (generating an increase in
domestic extension applications) and the stamp duty holiday
and the associated surge in the housing market.
This increase in the numbers of the applications has
exacerbated the issue of current vacancies within the DM team with
officers experiencing very high numbers of cases, particularly with
respect of the ‘Other’ application which includes
domestic extensions, thus going some way to explaining the dip in
In terms of staffing, to address the above issues,
an Interim Senior Planner has been appointed, starting today
(6th Sept.) and we are in
the process of securing a further interim Planning Officer with
interviews taking place this week. In this respect, the Council has
been actively trying to appoint interim support for some time but,
due to the surge in application numbers nationally this has proven
to be very difficult with a real shortage of potential
In terms of the permeant posts, we are currently in
the process of shortlisting candidates to the Assistant Enforcement
Officer post and are currently going out to advert for a Planning
In addition to the above, the Director is currently
engaged with the Head of Planning in reviewing staffing
needs/structure within the team.
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full minutes text for item 33.