Sheffield planning changes to go ahead

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Money-saving changes to the way planning applications will be advertised in Sheffield are to go ahead – despite them being called back by the council for more scrutiny.

Fewer neighbours will be notified of proposed developments under the council bid to save £40,000.

The measures – also including changes to site 
notices – were called in to a scrutiny committee by opposition councillors, who feared the move would limit consultation.

The council says the changes are needed as part of a package of measures to help make the planning department be ‘self-funded’, including an increase in fees for applicants.

It often sends out ‘hundreds’ of letters about applications that get no response from residents, chiefs say.

But new methods are also to come into force.

People will be able to use a text message alert service to follow developments, instead of the more traditional formats. Site notice designs have also been changed so they are more ‘eye-catching’.

The council used to pursue private developers to put up public notices – which rarely happened – but will no longer do that to save on manpower and money.

Potentially controversial planning applications will still have the same level of publicity.

A bid to reduce the cost of parking permits from £36 to £10 was also called in to the scrutiny committee, after petitions were rejected. The permit cost will stay the same – the council says it has been at the same level since 2006.