Greater say for Budleigh Salterton

Budleigh Salterton councillors are to undergo training in a bid to give the town a greater say over planning matters.

Town council clerk Jo Vanstone recently approached East Devon District Council, requesting training for the members to take on some delegated planning.

Budleigh Town Council was awarded quality council status in June 2009, enabling the town to make its own decisions over tree and signage planning applications.

The status lasts four years and the town will need to be reaccredited in 2013, if it wants to retain the powers.

Mrs Vanstone said Budleigh’s councillors had been reluctant to take on the extra responsibility until it was clear who would foot the bill of any appeals.

She said: “The district council has assured us it will cover the cost of such an appeal. We didn’t want to be financially accountable for a decision, so waiting was in the best interest of the town.”

Budleigh town councillor Chris Kitson said members would still take professional advice from district council officers when reaching a conclusion and decisions would not be made ‘on a whim and a fancy’.