SCOTLAND’S biggest local authority is to embark on a major recruitment drive to help ensure it has the resources it needs to handle the billions of pounds of investment expected to be made in Glasgow in the coming years.

Glasgow City Council is to invest £1.8 million to take on 45 staff in roles covering critical functions such as planning, surveying and building control as the city gears up for a wave of public and private investment. It is the biggest recruitment campaign the council has launched simultaneously across these functions.

The move follows a series of articles in The Herald last month which highlighted concern within the business community that pressure on council budgets was having a detrimental effect on economic development in Scotland’s biggest cities. Property sector insiders expressed fears that shrinking resources at city planning departments were delaying major investment projects, with budget cuts meaning it takes much longer for planning applications to be processed in cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh.

One insider said: “The problem in planning authorities just now is basically because of cutbacks and loss of experienced staff. That is what is causing the current delays.

“If anyone had gone to Glasgow City Council five years ago, you would generally have got a Rolls-Royce service. Now it is hand to mouth.”

Glasgow City Council has responded to those concerns by unlocking funding to enhance the service it offers. The Herald understands the council will this week launch a recruitment process to strengthen a host of key departments. It is expected to advertise a raft of openings for planning and buildings standards personnel, and housing specialists to support its regeneration agenda, housing strategy and policy.

The council is keen to hire people with a range of skills and experience, including graduates and individuals seeking their first professional roles.

Its investment comes amid ambitions to build 25,000 new homes in the city centre by 2025, and with several multi-million-pound Grade A office developments in the offing. The Glasgow City Regional Deal is also on track to deliver £400 million of investment in infrastructure projects.

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “Glasgow’s economy has been growing very healthily in recent years, and corresponding investment has resulted in increased demand for a speedier and better-resourced planning procedure.

“We’re pleased that the council has listened to the city’s business community and responded in this way.”

Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Glasgow must support its ambitions and meet the challenges of our European competitors with the required investment to boost our growth agenda.

“We have listened to businesses, to developers and indeed our citizens on where the barriers are and pledged to resource the council services which are critical to building upon the billions of pounds of investment Glasgow has attracted in recent years.

“As part of our Invest To Improve agenda we are now recruiting a substantial number of new staff in our planning, building standards, housing regeneration, and project management and design teams.

“These new posts are an investment which will increase our capacity to deliver and attract major investment and regeneration projects in Glasgow even more quickly and successfully, and in turn they will bring many new jobs to the city.”