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New system to speed land use consent applications

AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL

MEDIA RELEASE

15 November 2006

New system to speed land use consent applications

Auckland City is introducing a new system for lodging land use resource consents in a bid to provide a faster and more effective service for customers.

In the last financial year, the council received more than 2200 land use resource consent applications and processed about 50 per cent of those in 20 working days.

Auckland City’s manager of regulatory services, Barry Smedts, says the new lodgement system will mean the council can process more applications, more quickly.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure that we process as many resource consents as possible in the 20-day timeframe, but we know that we can do more.

“We’re confident that the new lodgement system will help to speed-up processing times for those people who provide detailed and thorough information with their applications.”

Mr Smedts says delays in processing consents frequently arise when applicants do not provide the detailed information necessary for the council to progress the application.

Under the new lodgement system, people will simply mail or drop-off their consent applications at the council’s offices, rather than have a face-to-face meeting with council staff.

A preliminary assessment will be done to determine whether the application contains all the information necessary for it to be processed.

If it does, the customer will be informed within two working days that their application has been officially lodged. If the application is determined to be incomplete, then it will be sent back to the applicant with an explanation and details of further information requirements.

To support the new lodgement system and improve consistency, the council has employed a senior planner, who will have an overview of all preliminary assessments.

In addition, the council will continue to offer pre-lodgement meetings for more complex applications, although there will now be a cost associated with this service. The council will still offer people the opportunity to meet with professional planners for general advice.

“We believe this system will speed-up the process because an application will not progress unless there is adequate information available.

“This is a pragmatic and responsible approach in which we deal with issues at the beginning of the process, rather than investing time and money only to hit a snag later on.

“This process will provide greater certainty for applicants and it will reward those who submit detailed and complete applications,” Mr Smedts says.

He says he’d encourage those who lodge resource consents frequently to work with the council by improving the standard of applications and ensuring the information submitted is comprehensive and meets the council’s requirements.

The new system for lodging resource consents follows the introduction of the new streamlined process for council-recognised planning professionals, in which they use a template to lodge their applications

The template means that applications are lodged with all of the information the council needs in a format that is quicker to process.

Around 8 per cent of the council’s resource consents are now being processed using this system and of those processed to a decision, 82 per cent have been completed within 20 working days. This compares with the average processing time for non-notified land use consents of 54 per cent in the year to date.

“This new approach is clearly working and we’ve had good feedback from customers. We are confident the new lodgement process will achieve similar success and will work effectively alongside the streamlined process.

“At the end of the day, we are committed to providing more timely decisions on resource consents” Mr Smedts says.

From Monday, 20 November people will be able to drop their resource consents off at the council’s offices at 35 Graham Street, central city, or preferably mail them into the Senior Planner Lodgements, Private Bag 92516, Auckland Central.

ENDS

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