A PLANNING specialist has been recruited to help communities in the Cotswolds seek funding when a new development is proposed for their neighbourhood.

Cotswold District Council announced the plans at its budget meeting on February 27 to fund a specialist for 18 months.

Through section 106 legal agreements, developers can pay money to Local Planning Authorities to offset the costs of the external effects of approved development.

This could be affordable housing or finance improvements such as traffic calming measures, new road layouts, or new community facilities.

Councillor Lynden Stowe, leader of the council, said: “Recent planning appeals have shown that local authorities can only reject development applications when there are valid planning reasons, even though there may be strong opposition from residents and Councillors.

"That is why we are now recommending a ‘twin track’ approach when communities object to development proposals - while mounting a robust opposition, they should also consider how they can gain maximum benefit if their objections are overruled.

“With this in mind, we are funding a specialist for 18 months who can work alongside communities and formulate the best possible agreement."