More hands for planning

Council review leads to increased staff to meet demand

AN additional full-time planner and support officer will be employed by the Rural City of Wangaratta following the completion of a review into council’s planning services.

Wangaratta councillors voted unanimously for the review by an independent assessor due to what was described as “excessive complaints” from local landholders about the length of time permit processes take in the rural city.

The review’s recommendations were endorsed at Tuesday night’s monthly public meeting with the additional staff estimated to cost council an extra $160,000 in the 2017/18 budget.

A second support officer may be engaged in 2018/19 should the council’s chief executive officer consider it necessary.

The final recommendations did note that the review “did not reveal any significant issue with the current performance of the planning department” and also praised the team’s enthusiasm, experience and relationship with most stakeholders.

“However, there is always room for improvement and there has been little time available to undertake process improvements, review documentation and work on streamlining planning provisions,” the report said.

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