Effectiveness of Local Planning Authorities in Wales


The Auditor General for Wales published his report (PDF 2.17MB) on 6 June 2019.


The report shows that all planning services have seen budget cuts of 50% in the last ten years, considering inflation. With less money to fund services, planning officer capacity is stretched and skills are decreasing in key areas. Furthermore, the number of trainees entering planning has fallen in recent years, raising concerns over the long-term sustainability of services.


The report also brings together public views from a Wales-wide survey, where a growing disconnect was found between what people want from their planning authority and what their planning authority is able to deliver. 67% of citizens surveyed stated that local planning authorities are not effectively engaging with them about their planning proposals, and many feel that planners are focused more on individual applications rather than supporting the creation of a better and more sustainable society.


The decisions taken by local planning authorities impact on us all – they can support the development of new homes, promote conservation, create job opportunities and improve local infrastructure. But while planners focus on individual applications, the concern of Welsh citizens is that not enough is being done to create vibrant and sustainable communities.


The Public Accounts Committee noted the Report findings and undertook an inquiry in the spring term, 2020. The Committee’s Report was published in June 2020.


The Welsh Government’s response was considered in September 2020.


Evidence Session

Date, agenda and Minutes



1. Dr Roisin Willmott – Royal Town Planning Institute


Monday 10 February 2020

Read transcript of Evidence Session 1

Watch Evidence Session 1 on Senedd TV

2. Craig Mitchell – Welsh Local Government Association


Mark Hand – Monmouthshire County Council


Andrew Farrow – Flintshire County Council


Nicola Pearce – Neath Port Talbot Council


Llinos Quelch – Carmarthenshire County Council


Monday 10 February 2020

Read transcript of Evidence Session 2

Watch Evidence Session 2 on Senedd TV

3. Nick Bennett – Public Services Ombudsman for Wales


Monday 24 February 2020

Read transcript of Evidence Session 3

Watch Evidence Session 3 on Senedd TV

4. Sophie Howe – Future Generations Commissioner for Wales


Marie Brousseau-Navarro – Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales

Monday 24 February 2020

Read transcript of Evidence Session 4

Watch Evidence Session 4 on Senedd TV

5. Welsh Government

Andrew Slade

John Howells

Neil Hemington

Monday 9 March 2020

Read transcript of Evidence Session 5

Watch Evidence Session 5 on Senedd TV


Business type: Committee Inquiry

Reason considered: Senedd Business;

Status: Complete

First published: 24/07/2019