ReadingBiker wrote: ↑11 Oct 2018 11:55
it is obvious that many planning depts have either a lot of incompetence or a degree of collusion/corruption with developers
Whilst your conclusion about incompetence, based on your example and current staffing problems seems reasonable, I don’t see a justification for that about corruption. I suspect the actual number of corruption cases, which lead to convictions or dismissals are very low in this country, because when they do occur they are reported nationally.
Corruption in local authority planning departments has been a good plot line in books, TV and films (remember Chinatown), but that doesn’t mean it’s common.
There is a risk that planners who need to spend a lot of time with developers will get to know them well and might find it hard to be completely objective, but I am sure planning departments are well aware of this and instill the dangers into their staff.
The tens of millions of pounds and more at stake in large developments means builders can afford highly skilled and experienced advisors. A problem that should be addressed is that the money available to developers far outweighs what a hard pressed local authority can allocate.