Wolverhampton City Council's planning department has been shortlisted for 'team of the year' at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence.
This follows the team's success in the RTPI regional awards in 2012, in which it was named the best in the West Midlands.
Judges have been impressed with the way the department has transformed itself to cut away red tape. The application process is now 3 times faster with most cases being approved in 30 days
The department's growing reputation has resulted in staff from local authorities across the country visiting the city to learn how Wolverhampton's planners work.
Current, ongoing projects that Wolverhampton's planning department has helped facilitate include:
- construction of the new Sainsbury's store at Raglan Street and Tesco on the former Royal Hospital site
- interchange 10 that will see a mix of office and retail units built near the bus station
- the former Royal Hospital site which will see a mixed redevelopment including retail, housing, leisure and community facilities
- Thompson Avenue which will see the first new council homes built in the city for 30 years
- Heath Town and Tettenhall Neighbourhood Plans, which are enabling residents to shape the future of their own communities
This shortlisting was also partly due to the excellent progress on our Neighbourhood Plans - the most advanced neighbourhood plans in an urban area in the country.
Tim Johnson, Wolverhampton City Council's Strategic Director for Education and Enterprise, said: "This nomination is excellent news and a testament to all the hard work of our planners.
"Over the last few years, they have set about cutting unnecessary steps in the process, stopped looking to meet arbitrary targets and put the customers first to ensure good developments get the go ahead quickly.
"Where the team was once seen as bureaucratic and obstructive, it is now seen as business friendly and progressive.
"The whole city is seeing the fruits of this approach in the number of exciting developments that are taking shape."
The winner of the RTPI award will be announced on 23 June.
- released: Wednesday 16 April, 2014