Room for improvement on planning permits

Despite recent improvements in time taken to issue planning permits, Manager Planning and Environment Services Heather Green said Council could still do more to make the process easier for the community.

Last month Council improved its average time to 22 days, down from 62 days at the start of the year and 85 days in June 2009.

“One of the delaying factors is the quality of applications lodged,” she said.

“If an application is lodged with all the necessary information it can be processed very quickly. Having three statutory planners, streamlining procedures and giving greater assistance to applicants are some of the reasons behind our improvement.

"But we are still looking at ways to make the process as easy as possible. We will work with the development industry to keep members updated with legislative requirements and what is needed when lodging an application.”

During the next 12 months it is anticipated that planning permit applications will be able to be completed online.

“That is just one of the ways we have responded to the community’s concerns,” she said.

“We have already received some positive feedback from the development industry.”

Ms Green added that the application for the Carter Holt Harvey timber mill was processed very quickly, due to the quality of the application.

“The application was submitted with all the necessary information,” she said.

“We were able to grant the permit in only four weeks which is an excellent result.”

The referral of applications to statutory bodies such as the CFA and Goulburn-Murray Water also adds to processing times according to Ms Green.

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