An East Lancashire local authority has been given a government grant to clear its backlog of planning applications.

Staff shortages and IT problems at Hyndburn Council have caused delays in processing proposals for developments and home extensions.

But now the government has given it a £100,000 Planning Skills Delivery Grant to improve its performance at handling applications.

The cash comprises two key elements. The main £80,000 is to directly tackle the backlog by paying for an additional planning officer who will speed up case processing, reduce waiting times and streamline the application process.

The remaining £20,000 will be invested in improving the skills of existing planning staff ensuring they have the latest knowledge and tools to handle complex applications efficiently.

Hyndburn Council's acting leader, Cllr Peter Britcliffe, said: “We’re delighted to receive this grant.

"The additional funding will directly address the backlog of planning applications that arose from recruitment difficulties and IT issues in 2022/23.

"This is fantastic news for residents and businesses seeking planning approvals, and it demonstrates the government’s recognition of our commitment to improving planning services within the borough.

“We take our responsibility to deliver responsive and efficient planning services seriously.

"This grant not only acknowledges the difficulties that have been experienced but allows us to clear the current backlog and invest in our dedicated team, ensuring they’re equipped to handle future applications with ease and expertise.

"This is a win-win for everyone – residents get their decisions faster, and businesses can confidently invest in development projects within the borough.”

The council has already taken steps to address the backlog and problems which caused it.

They include streamlining internal processes, investing in staff training, and implementing new IT systems.