Epsom & Ewell Council spent £500k on Local Plan External Fees

#localplan #epsomandewell #planning

Information provided by E&EBC showing that for Local Plan external consultants fees alone, Epsom and Ewell Borough Council has so far spent £513k. This is excluding Planning Officers’ salary, which if included, the Council would have spent way over £1 million* already on the Local Plan. Sadly the Local Plan is still at early stage and future spending is likely to be high.

Unfortunately, some of the external reports are of poor quality with errors, some reports have conflicting information, and some reports are even suspected of Greenwashing in order to justify large and unusual development proposals of Green Belt lands.

  • According to Council’s document, Planning Officers’ salary are between £50k-£60k/year. Council has at least 5 officers, and assuming each officer spent 30% of their time on Local Plan, for the past 6 years, Council would have spent over £500k on Local Plan officers’ salaries.

The total spend on external services from 1st April 2016 until the 15 April 2023 was £513,214.83. This was split into two phases.

April 2016 – December 2021

Local Plan consultancy was £262,519.29 ( £3,861 per month )

Consultancy 2016-21 was £88,541 ( 33.7% )
Strategy 2016-21 was £45,626 ( 17.4% )
Studies 2016-21 was £119,788 (45.6% )
Publishing 2016-21 was £8,564 ( 3.3% )

There were 13 different external suppliers for Phase 1. The largest suppliers were Atkins Ltd ( £36,472 ) followed by Luther Pendragon ( £16,557 ).

January 2022 – April 2023

Support for Draft Local Plan was £250,695.54 ( £16,713 per month )

Consultancy 2012-23 was £127,736 (51.1% )
Strategy 2012-23 was zero
Studies 2012-23 was £88,252 ( 35.3% )
Publishing 2012-23 was £34,044 ( 13.6% )

There were 11 different external suppliers for Phase 2. The largest suppliers were David Lock Associates ( £99,768 ) followed by GL Hearne ( £47,890 ). The spending on Publishing is excessive, which covered Graphic Design, Social Media, Printing

The budget and content of the Local Plan were approved by the Licensing and Planning Policy Committee. The Local Plan was approved for public consultation by the Licensing and Planning Policy Committee in Monday 30th Jan 2023. The meeting was attended by the councillors listed below. The decision was unanimous.

Councillor Steven McCormick (Chair) RA
Councillor Peter O’Donovan (Vice Chair) RA
Councillor Steve Bridger RA
Councillor Neil Dallen RA
Councillor Liz Frost RA
Councillor Rob Geleit Lab
Councillor Julie Morris Lib Dem
Councillor Barry Nash RA
Councillor Phil Neale RA
Councillor Peter Webb RA
Councillor Kate Chinn Lab

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