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Carmarthenshire Council: Head of planning stands down

THE head of planning at Carmarthenshire Council has left her post following an audit report which showed huge overspending and significant problems.

It has been reported that Llinos Quelch has stepped down from her position within the council, with Noelwyn Daniel taking over on an interim basis.

Audit Wales reported that the council had overspent by £1.8million each year between 2015-2020.

As of March there was a backlog of 847 planning applications and 761 enforcement cases, some spanning back more than five years.

Following the report recommendations were made which planned to tackle the planning and enforcement backlogs, with clear standards set.

However, although the department has the capacity and resources, it does not have the capacity to deal with the sheer volume of backlogged cases.

It has also been reported that in an attempt to tackle the backlog, some cases have been passed to private companies to deal with on the council behalf.

Speaking on the report, Emlyn Dole, Head of Carmarthenshire County Council said: “Alongside this report, we have sought feedback from and listened to our customers to understand their needs and frustrations,” 

“This has brought to the fore a number of key areas where significant change will be implemented to improve the planning service.

“This work is already well under way, with a dedicated team working through systems and procedures to streamline the way we process applications and carry out effective enforcement whilst supporting current and future development in line with national planning policy.”

Audit Wales have said although the council have compiled their own report with 50 recommendations, it does not believe they have prioritised the resulting actions.

Within the report it said: “Significant and long-standing performance issues in the planning service need to be urgently addressed,” and it claimed that the backlog of enforcement cases could not be sustained by the department.