Planning committees to merge?

Planning committees to merge?

TWO of North Somerset Council’s planning committees could be merged to save the authority money.

The council is considering merging the North Area and Central Area planning committees to cut the meetings by half.

North Area covers planning applications from Portishead, Clevedon and Pill, and Central Area covers Nailsea and Backwell.

Cllr Jeremy Blatchford, North Somerset Council’s executive member for children and young people’s services, said: “One of the cost saving measures being looked at is the merging of area committees, either permanently or temporarily.

“If we put north and central together we’d have half as many meetings. It would save a significant amount of money.

There are a number of options being looked at in that area.

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“We are getting far fewer applications going through which want calling in. Unless it’s a major application or an authority application they don’t go to committee unless someone is worried about it.

“For the past two months meetings haven’t happened as we’ve had nothing to discuss.”

Mr Blatchford added that councillors are also being encouraged to only book site meetings if absolutely necessary.

The merger is just one of the budget proposals being considered by the council in an effort to cut costs.