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AUDITOR PRAISES MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL'S APPROACH TO PLANNING DECISIONS

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Government appointed auditors have praised Manchester City Council ...
Government appointed auditors have praised Manchester City Council

following their recent completion of a risk assessment of arrangements for

making planning decisions in the city.

Their verdict, as published in their summary report entitled 'Probity in

Planning', is that Manchester's approach to planning is 'generally sound'

and the auditors identify a number of key areas which are in line with

recognised good practice.

-Working relationships between officers and elected members are soundly

based on a culture of partnership, respect and mutual trust, with open

channels of communication.

-Members have a high degree of confidence in officers' professional

judgement on planning applications and usually accept their

recommendations.

-Members are kept up to date with planning applications.

-Following their observations of the development control and traffic

regulation committee, the auditors reported that the committee operated in

an orderly and open manner with the general public being invited to speak

on relevant issues.

The audit was carried out over a 12 month period as part of a review of

current planning procedures at local authorities throughout the country.

The aim of the review is to ensure that planning procedures are clear and

fair and that decisions are taken in the best interests of the community

within legislative requirements.

Local authorities have an important task in assuring the public that they

maintain high ethical standards.

Commenting on the findings, Cllr Val Stevens, executive member for

planning and transport, said: 'Decisions on planning applications can be

highly charged affairs, but our procedures are designed to be open and

above board. The district audit's assessment should allay any concerns

that people may sometimes have.'

Cllr Tony Burns, who chairs the committee responsible for dealing

with planning applications, said: 'The committee has a duty to act with

the utmost integrity when making decisions. I am delighted with the

outcome of the assessment which is a credit to the committee and the

officers who report to us.'

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