Government pulls 50% of funding for Planning Advisory Service

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have added extra pain on the planning system by reducing its annual government grant to the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) by half, writes property developer Richard Carr.

Cuts

Richard Carr planning policy image

The PAS is set to be hit by 50% cuts

The Planning Resource revealed earlier this week that the Local Government Association, which runs PAS, received a letter from Planning Minister Brandon Lewis explaining the changes to the funding. As a result, the DCLG has reduced its funding by 50%, which means that PAS will along receive £1m in government grants.

According to Planning Resource, the reduction is a knock-on effect of the substantial reduction the DCLG’s resource budget from 2016/17 onwards.

What is the Planning Advisory Service?

PAS is a service which aims to improve and facilitate self-sustainable change in the local authority planning sector. Planning Advisory Services offer advice and information regarding the planning process of all major building works.

Lost resource

PAS programme manager Alice Lester admitted to Planning Resource that jobs will be lost as a result of the reduction in funding.

“The team size will be slightly reduced,” she said.

Despite that, she felt the cuts were reasonable: “Understandable that in these straitened budgetary times that cuts have had to be made”

She continued by saying that it was “fantastic” news that the government will continue to fund a sector-led programme of support for local planning authorities.

As a result of the drop of funding, PAS will now attempt to develop a “commercial side”, to bring in extra revenue. Lester revealed that it’s currently developing a “subscription offer”, which will offer tiered options for access to events, materials and consultancy support.

Value

A DCLG spokesman said: “PAS will continue to play a valuable role in helping councils deliver effective planning.

“We are still supporting the service with a £1 million grant, however, all parts of the public sector need to play their part in tackling the deficit and delivering greater value for money for the taxpayer.”