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WESTMINSTER WATCH - PLANNING DEPARTMENTS UNDER-RESOURCED

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Housing, planning & regeneration minister Lord Falconer admitted to a House of Commons committee the current planni...
Housing, planning & regeneration minister Lord Falconer admitted to a House of Commons committee the current planning system was under-resourced.

Critics of his plans to shake-up the system have called for more money rather than the root-and-branch change he has suggested in the planning green paper.

Lord Falconer said: 'I believe planning departments are under-resourced and we need fundamental change in the system.'

The extra cash could come from three areas, he suggested: 'Greater fees, reallocation of resources from within council spending and from central government.'

He refused to reveal how much money he has bid for from the Treasury as part of the comprehensive spending review.

Committee chair, Labour's Andrew Bennett, asked if this was because it has already been turned down. He claimed without more money the planning system would be left 'in the worst of both worlds' - given more to do but without the resources.

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