A councillor has welcomed news the number of planning enforcement officers in Lichfield and Burntwood is to be boosted.
Members of Lichfield District Council backed a plan to bolster the number of people in the development management team at a meeting this week.
It will see the equivalent of an additional four full-time members of staff taken on to work within the local authority’s planning team.
Cllr Diane Evans, deputy leader of the Labour opposition group, told the meeting greater enforcement of planning rules and regulations was long overdue.
“I’m pleased to see there are going to be more funding available for additional capacity for enforcement support which has been woefully inadequate for many years.
“It is totally wrong that over time many people have got away with enforcement not being enacted when it should have been.
“I recognise that the enforcement officers who are part time have had far too large a case load to deal with but the situation does need to be drastically improved.
“I hope the new posts will be full time because the part time officers are often not there when you need them.”Cllr Diane Evans, Lichfield District Council
“The case load is going up”
A report by Cllr Angela Lax, cabinet member for regulatory, housing and health, revealed that an additional £1.1million would be spent over the next five years to bolster the planning department.
It also revealed that team leader salaries would be boosted in order to “attract and retain” staff.
Cllr Thomas Marshall, Conservative representative for Armitage with Handsacre, told the meeting that the pressures on planning officers was not unique to Lichfield District Council.
“At a conference I spoke to councillors from all over the country and this is a problem in all local authorities where very often there is a dearth of planning officers.
“The case load is also going up as the Government is encouraging development, as it is right to do.
“It is a problem and I note that we are doing everything we can to rectify it.”Cllr Thomas Marshall, Lichfield District Council