Croydon’s planning service is set to undergo a major transformation programme as part of the Mayor’s plan to renew our town and district centres and create a cleaner, safer and healthier borough.
Among the Mayor’s commitments is to review the planning and enforcement service to improve service for customers, and ensure all new homes are well-designed and enhance the unique character of Croydon’s neighbourhoods.
The Mayor has listened to the views of residents and applicants and, together with officers and key partners, will use findings from an independent Planning Advisory Service (PAS) review conducted last year to modernise the service and restore pride in our borough.
Croydon is one of the top 50 busiest Local Planning Authorities in the country and seventh busiest in London. The service has faced national staffing shortages, compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic and increased levels of householder applications.
These combined factors led to a growing backlog of applications and reduced time to work with applicants during the pre-planning process.
Customer service for planning applicants and resident engagement will be one of six key projects, with the council driving changes to deliver a more efficient system and engaging more regularly with residents, customers and partners.
Investment in IT systems will speed up processes, increase productivity and enable the service to adjust to proposed national planning reforms.
The transformation, which was agreed by Cabinet on Wednesday, 22 February, will address these issues and provide an opportunity to revive Croydon’s Local Plan Review, which was paused prior to the election of the Executive Mayor.
The Local Plan sets out how Croydon will shape the borough, supporting sustainable development and emphasising design and character over density, whilst meeting growing housing demand.
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon Council, said: “Transforming the planning service is a key priority for Croydon to ensure our residents and customers are receiving the best possible service and getting clear and timely assistance with the issues they are facing. Budget cuts under the previous Administration, along with other challenges, placed pressure on the service which this plan will alleviate.
“We look forward to getting this project underway in tandem with the Local Plan review so that we can renew our town and district centres and ensure new developments respect and enhance the unique local character of our neighbourhoods and restore pride in our borough.”
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon
Consultation and engagement on the draft transformation programme will begin in February, including engagement with the borough’s resident associations and business associations.
A report to agree the draft structure, governance and next steps of the Planning Transformation Programme was approved by Cabinet yesterday, on 22 February.