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Thursday 8 January 2015

Cheshire East to set up new building and planning services company


Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet has approved plans to set up a building and planning support consultancy that will provide first class, unique and innovative services for the residents of Cheshire East.

The new company, owned and controlled by the council, will provide a one-stop shop for people who are seeking advice or planning to make investments.

A transformed, co-ordinated and commercial approach will reinvigorate the staff and enable innovation to create an agile, modern approach.

Private sector providers are moving into this market but there is evidence that the public feel more assured when these services are delivered through a council-led approach and this company will provide Cheshire East with a vehicle for doing so.

If the Council does nothing, it is estimated that the service will lose income to competitors, which could cost the authority £892,000 over the next five years.

However, by setting up the new company and tapping into new income streams this potential loss could be converted into a saving of £269,000 – a net benefit of £1.161m.

The proposal also opens up opportunities for partnership working with neighbouring authorities to generate benefits from economies of scale.

Services provided by the new company will include building control, local land charges and property searches, street naming and numbering, planning liaison, and planning support.

Cheshire East Council employees who transfer to the new company will be covered by the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment Rights) Regulations 2013.

Cheshire East has already set up alternative service delivery vehicles (ASDVs) – operating companies that are owned and controlled by the council – to provide services in an innovative and enterprising way.

These include Orbitas, which manages cemeteries, crematoria and bereavement services, and Ansa, which is responsible for waste collection and recycling, streetscape services and street cleaning, grounds and parks maintenance, and vehicle fleet management.

Council Leader, Councillor Michael Jones, said: “We have long recognised the need to take a strategic commissioning role so that we can change the way services are provided in order to create opportunities for innovation and greater efficiency. 

“This enables us to put residents first and take care of the people as well as the pounds and pence.

“This new company for building and planning services will retain a high-quality, professional team to provide the fullest advice to those who wish to invest in Cheshire East through development or relocation.”

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