Economic Downturn Affecting Planning Applications

porthcressa building siteThe islands’ planning chief, Craig Dryden, says the economic downturn is noticeably affecting the building and associated trades on the islands.

At last night’s Planning meeting, councillors discussed the fall in numbers of applications from the private sector. There was just one submitted to the committee for review.

Recently it’s not been unusual to have fifteen to twenty applications on the agenda.

Craig says he’s never known so few request for building consent, the worst since he arrived here in 2004, although he admits some of that is due to more routine decisions being delegated.

Each planning application brings in an average of £350 for the Council, depending on the type of consent being sought.

Cllr Christine Savill pointed out that the income for the planning department has fallen by over £26,000 per year.

The Council can’t try and claw back the loss of revenue by putting up everybody else’s application fees, as these are regulated by the government.

Craig says the current list of applications contrasts with the last few years, where grant funded schemes on the islands have boosted the number of large construction projects.

And he says this could be the first signs that the recession and public spending review is really hitting the islands, something which has already been seen for several years on the mainland.

He told members that the planning and development department hasn’t made any budget cutbacks yet, but they are working with the Council finance team to identify them.

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