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
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
"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."