A NEW job role is being created to help push through company planning applications amid fears that firms are being hamstrung by rules and regulations.
Councillor Edwin Wain, who has the responsibility for planning and markets at Staffordshire Moorlands District, has vowed to make planning decisions swifter and less complex to encourage more employment.
He said a review of the authority’s planning department was now nearly complete, and that a new officer will be taken on to deal with applications. It is not yet known how much the post-holder will be paid.
Mr Wain said: “We are going to employ a person who will give advice to anyone who wishes to start or expand a business in the Moorlands.
“We are now making sure that people get the right message, which is that the Moorlands is open for business, which means more jobs and more prosperity.
“Planning applications will be dealt with more quickly, which will benefit businesses and the people of Staffordshire Moorlands.”
The news comes after a planning application, submitted by WG Tankers, to redevelop the former Boydons bus depot at Winkhill, has finally been given the go-ahead.
The plan was approved twoand- a-half years ago, but the council placed 41 conditions on it.
This has led to construction work being delayed and the owner considering moving the business to its sister site at Foston, near Burton.
The new workshop at Winkhill will initially create up to 20 new jobs with more in the pipeline.
Mr Wain said: “I have now dealt with WG Tankers’ application, which has gone on far too long.
This delay must not happen again.” W G Tankers employs around 40 people at its current sites in Waterhouses.
After purchasing the former Boydons site in Winkhill, it was given planning permission to redevelop the former coach depot into a mechanical and welding unit for its fleet.
Managing director of WG Tankers, Ian Buxton, said: “We have finally had the planning conditions rubber stamped.
“Work is now starting on the development. We plan to demolish the old garage, but first we are having an asbestos survey completed.
“The delay has cost us a lot of money as we had an independent contamination report produced.
However, the council would not accept it and said it wanted another. After the expense both have said the same thing; that there is no contamination.
“The council also want us to reroute a footpath, but the old buildings had to be demolished first to put it in where they want it.”
Last November the Post & Times reported that Rayne Precision Engineering Ltd, based in Ipstones and Froghall, said it was moving 70 jobs out of the Moorlands to Fenton after claiming it had received minimal help from the council, which it claimed was only interested in building houses.