After further complaints from Bedford residents, unhappy about Bedford Council’s planning service, opposition Councillors are calling for immediate action to address the department’s failings and poor performance. Residents of Wixams addressed Councillors at last week’s full Council meeting, making clear their dissatisfaction with how the Planning Department ignores their responses to planning applications. This is an addition to acknowledgement that it’s planning services was rated in 330th place out of 344 local authorities across the country, Conservative Councillors believe that urgent action is needed to address the department’s many failings.
On behalf of the Conservative group, Deputy Leader Roger Rigby said ‘We are worried about the poor political management of the borough’s planning services having seen the losses of skilled staff through frustrated department reviews. In addition, the outcome of the poor current local plan brought about by the ineptitude of the Mayor and the Portfolio Holder meant as soon as it was finished Government Inspectors forced the borough to start a new one with renewed strain on our staff, the borough’s finances and local communities.’
Cllr Rigby continued ‘Delivering a first class planning service is a fundamental requirement of a good local authority. The staff individually have performed incredibly well during COVID whilst working from home but residents are being let down by incompetent political leadership.
The 2030 Local plan is a disaster for many rural communities with unwanted developments confirmed without the Mayor having an integrated plan to deliver a road system to match. With the planning service so poorly lead the next local plan is likely to deliver both a developer’s charter and traffic gridlock.
Bedford Borough Council is 322nd out of 344 on delivering major applications and 330th out of 344 on delivering non-major applications. That is a disgrace.
If Cllr Vann is unable to sort this matter out quickly with immediate results then he needs to consider his position and allow someone to take over who can turn things around’.