Council appoints planning manager

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THE new leader of a council’s planning team has been appointed as part of a push by two councils to scale back an acclaimed cost-cutting drive to share civic services.

Mark Harbottle has taken over as Hambleton District Council’s new planning manager and his role will involve overseeing a drive to bring more affordable homes to the area. The Hambleton authority has looked at ways to separate several key services – including the planning department – which it had shared with Richmondshire District Council and led to £2.6m in savings over the last three years.

But both district authorities have decided to scale back the pioneering initiative after Hambleton announced it was ending an arrangement where a chief executive oversaw both councils.

Hambleton District Council’s new chief executive, Philip Morton, admitted the appointment of Mr Harbottle signalled a “time of change”.

The previous chief executive, Peter Simpson, stood down following complaints over his “abusive and dominating” behaviour. A new senior management team has been put in place at Richmondshire after the shared arrangements came to an end.