Milton Keynes Council will launch a planning academy to help improve planning services and to help recruit and retain the best and brightest planners in the city.
The Council will aim to work with leading bodies such as the Royal Town Planning Institute and use the fact that the city is a beacon of sustainable growth in order to attract new staff, fill vacant posts, improve the service it gives to local residents and develop best practice for the rest of the country.
The academy proposals will see more training for planners, provide financial incentives to attract and retain the best planners, as well as providing support for existing staff to develop. Funding will also be provided to employ three apprentices that will be trained a Level 7 town planner qualification.
The plans will be put to the next Cabinet in early February as part of a programme that is designed to improve the planning service after a number of concerns have been raised in the last few years.
The proposals will also include additional budget funding for planning enforcement improvements and to provide more training and communication materials on the planning rules for conservation areas and permitted development to help reduce potential problems early before they become the source of local issues and complaints.
Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council said:
“Milton Keynes is iconic for planning and urban design. We are absolutely determined to provide local residents with an excellent planning service. Our plans will see us using our national status for sustainable growth to attract new and the best planners to the city, provide the best on the job training in the country and develop national best practice by working with the best institutes and planning bodies.”
“We know that a few issues have led to people questioning the service we provide. We are totally committed to restoring trust and improving the planning services the council provides. The reality is that attracting good planners is hard in a fiercely competitive market with lots of demand for planners from a large private sector and other public sector bodies. We need to show that coming to work for Milton Keynes Council is a good thing, as well as retaining our current employees, and our academy plans will help do that. We will also propose more funding to help improve our enforcement service and help people better understand issues surrounding permitted development rights to try and prevent issues before they arise.”
“Our planning services are moving forward. The planning academy and additional funding for the service will mean we continue to improve.”