A COUNCIL could reduce the number of committees with the power to approve and deny planning applications.

Maldon District Council has three separate planning committees who delegate planning applications across the district – the central area, south eastern area and north western area.

But now plans will be considered as to whether the council should reduce the number to a single planning committee which will cover the entire district.

In a report due to go before a full meeting of the council on Thursday, it was stated that following the adoption of the district’s Local Development Plan last year, planning decisions have become more efficient, meaning less time and resources were needed.

A review was carried out assessing the impact of the LDP, which compared the number of applications and time spent deciding them at planning meetings between November 2016 – January 2017 and November 2017 – January 2018.

The review showed there was an 18 per cent reduction in the number of applications considered by area committees, with a 35 per cent reduction in time spent at planning meetings, going from 13 hours 37 minutes in the first period to eight hours 52 minutes in the second.

The report said: “There has been demonstrable progress, particularly in reducing the amount of time spent with member meetings to determine planning applications. If the progress in efficiencies continues it may be possible to condense the members’ determination of applications into a single planning committee for the whole district.”

Officers have recommended the council to make its decision on the matter in September to allow more time to analyse the data.