Planning to change at Hertsmere Borough Council

A STREAMLINED planning process is being introduced by Hertsmere Borough Council – cutting the number of committees from three to one.

Previously, the council had different planning committees covering different parts of the borough: Potters Bar and Shenley, Elstree and Borehamwood, and Bushey and Aldenham.

But, following a review of this structure – which asked for the views of residents – planning applications will now be considered by one centrally-based committee.

Cllr Harvey Cohen, who led the review, said the change was being made to make the process more efficient and cost-effective.

He said: “We have given this decision a lot of thought and investigated best practice both within other councils in Hertfordshire and nationwide.

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“We hope the new set up will improve processes and procedures for us, as well as save officer time.

“We also believe it will make the most of the planning committee members’ expertise in accessing applications from around Hertsmere and enable consistent decision-making across the whole borough.”

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Cllr Cohen added: “In the difficult times we are facing, it makes sense to make sure we make the most of our resources and be as effective, efficient and economic as possible in the way we conduct our business.”

The three area-based planning committees will continue to meet and determine applications until the end of the year.

The new single planning committee, consisting of 13 councillors, will be in place from January and meet at the Civic Offices in Borehamwood approximately once a month.

Cllr Hannah David has been nominated to be its new chairman.

She said: “I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to set up the new planning committee and pleased to be able to use my experience and knowledge to further improve our planning service.

“The move from three committees to one will also save time and money.”

* Due to her new role, Cllr David has been seconded from her position as portfolio holder for housing and planning on the council’s executive.

In her place, Cllr Seamus Quilty has been drafted in as portfolio holder for housing and economic development, with Cllr Charles Goldstein’s role being amended to portfolio holder for planning and performance.

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