Council Raps English Heritage Over Job Funding

Council Chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

The Islands’ Council can’t fill two urgent job vacancies because English Heritage hasn’t paid the Town Hall grant money that it had promised.

It’s not the first time that the Government body, which can influence planning application outcomes, has been slow to offer funding.

Planning Committee members agreed that Chairman, Amanda Martin, would write to express the Council’s dissatisfaction with their “dilatory approach.”

English Heritage had made “positive sounds” about paying for two staff roles according to Craig Dryden, Chief Planning Officer, but he said they hadn’t put anything in writing.

Chris Savill supported sending the agency a “rap across the knuckles.”

The delay means that the Council can’t recruit an Historic Environment Field Advisor and part-time Archaeologist, a single position, which has been vacant since Eleanor Breen resigned.

English Heritage were to pay that salary.

A 25% funded full-time planning officer post can’t be filled yet either.

Craig told the Planning Committee that the hiatus means the Planning Budget is around £42,000 under spend, even though they have had to buy-in some services from Cornwall and employ a planning consultant, Bill Wilson.

Members commended Craig and his Old Wesleyan Chapel-based team for working in difficult circumstances.

Chris Savill was pleased day-to-day planning matters were being handled but there was slippage in strategic work.