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Peterborough UK
08:34 on Wednesday
7 March 2001

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Councils must improve planning process


As local councils start new administrations following recent elections, Cambridgeshire directors have made a plea for improvements in the planning process, highways maintenance and economic advice services.

A survey conducted by the Institute of Directors, which has 900 members in the Eastern Branch that covers Cambridgeshire, reveals that 'poor' or 'very poor' ratings were given to the planning function by 45 per cent; to roads and highways by 44 per cent; and to economic development advice by 39 per cent.

In addition, half of the directors with operations in different parts of the country said problems were caused by conflicting interpretations of rules and regulations.

There were mixed views on the effectiveness of regional development agencies which were established a year ago. Among directors whose companies had contacted an RDA for advice on such topics as business, economic development or planning matters, 26 per cent thought the standard of service was poor or very poor compared with 28 per cent who said it was good or very good.

There was little enthusiasm for the idea of new style directly-elected mayors, with 48 per cent of directors saying it would make no difference, 31 per cent saying it may bring improvements and 10 per cent believing it would make matters worse.

The IoD's Eastern Branch chairman David Jennings said: "Although directors agree that local government generally provides a good service, there is obviously room for improvement in such matters as planning where delays are a constant bugbear and cause very real costs to business.

"Better performance is needed in other areas, such as roads and highways and economic planning advice. The IoD would support appropriate government action to end inconsistent interpretation of rules and regulations by different local authorities."

May 2000

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