North Norfolk District Council offers job hopefuls £10,000 ‘Golden Hellos’

The North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) offices in Cromer.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) offices in Cromer.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

North Norfolk is an attractive rural district with beautiful coastline, fantastic landscapes and big skies, according to the advert. But council chiefs are having to offer extra cash incentives to attract more planners to the area.

North Norfolk District Council is offering £5000 'Golden Hello' payments, on top of generous salaries, additional benefits and relocation expenses, to each of the successful candidates who apply for the two vacancies in its planning department.

It is currently looking to recruit a Planning Policy Team Leader, on a basic package of up to £37,482, and a Planning Enforcement Officer, with a basic package of up to £32,778.

The advert for the Team Leader post states: 'The Council is preparing a new Local Plan for the District to replace our adopted Core Strategy and Site Allocations Plans. This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced planning policy professional to play a lead role in the process.

'The Team Leader is required to lead the team in the day to day delivery of services, deputise for the Planning Policy Manager when unavailable, and handle a complex workload related to the preparation of the Local Plan.'

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And the advert for the Planning Officer posts adds: 'The Planning Officer post is one of four Policy Officers in the team dealing with all aspects of local plan preparation, neighbourhood planning, five year land supply, monitoring and all other aspects of planning policy development.'

The closing date for applications is April 25.

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North Norfolk District Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee heard the introduction of the so-called Golden Hellos was needed to cope with staff shortages and an increase in workload in the local authority's planning department.

Although that had led to an increase in fee income in the last financial year, it claimed delays in processing applications was holding back development and damaging the local authority's reputation.

The council, which is currently in the process of digitising the planning department in a move which is estimated to save it a further £74,000 a year, spent £41,845.64 on agency staff in a bid to plug the gap between April and November last year. However, it warned a national shortage of qualified planning staff was affecting its ability to arrange cover.

A report to councillors, written by head of planning Nicola Baker and corporate director Nick Baker, stated: 'For some time, the planning enforcement role has not been performing as well as we would like and there is little doubt that this creates reputational issues for the council.

'The council is working hard to address the shortage and has responded with the introduction of a 'Golden Hello' to encourage incoming staff who would need to relocate, and also retention payments, to try and keep some staff where simply supply and demand is driving salary increases in the planning sector.'

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