NORTH Ayrshire Council’s Planning team provide the best service of any council in Scotland.

That was the verdict following a Scottish Government assessment at the end of last year.

The team are assessed on 15 key criteria – with the Council receiving the best mark (Green) in 12.

The report praised the way the council have cut out the need for time-consuming legal agreements which can delay applications.

The council also met timescales for seven major developments and the Scottish Government also acknowledged that the local development plan was up to date.

Councillor Tom Marshall, Convenor of the Planning Committe, said: “Our planning service deserves huge credit for their consistently high levels of performance. To have the best results of any council in Scotland is really outstanding and testament to the hard work and expertise of the team.

“While the planning process can be sometimes be complex, we are making great strides in simplifying the process while ensuring its remains effective.”

Councillor Alex Gallager, Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “The planning process is hugely important for individuals and developers so this gives them real reassurance that they are receiving a top service from North Ayrshire Council.

“However, we will not rest on our laurels and will continue to focus on providing the best possible service for everyone.”

The PPF showed that it takes North Ayrshire Council 13.3 weeks to process planning applications for major developments – a massive improvement on the previous year’s figure of 26.7 weeks and significantly faster than the Scottish average of 34.2 weeks.

The average time to give decisions on local developments has remained steady at 5.9 weeks and decisions on householder developments has reduced slightly to 4.6 weeks, with 100 per cent being determined within two months.