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Planning training essential for councillors

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Councillors need proper training on making planning decisions, the commercial property industry has claimed.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation (BPF), told the communities & local government select committee’s inquiry into planning skills that planners and councillors did not fully understand the economic realities of development.

She said: “It's incredible that those involved in a quasi-judicial process do not have to have formal training, despite taking decisions which can affect thousands and cost companies millions of pounds."

Widespread training call

The inquiry follows Sir John Egan’s (2004) review which said training for councillors involved in planning decisions should be compulsory - a recommendation the BPF claimed has been ignored.

Hounslow LBC Ruth Cadbury (Lab) also gave evidence. She said there was a lot to be gained from external trainers, and that training could be a lot more imaginative.

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