In light of the current Coronavirus situation the Council has had to take some difficult but necessary steps to protect the public, councillors and staff.
We understand that applicants and developers will be concerned about the implications of COVID-19 on the Council’s ability to process planning applications within statutory timescales.
As a Council we recognise that it is important that authorities continue to provide the best service possible in these difficult times and prioritise decision-making to ensure the planning system continues to function, especially where this will support the local economy.
As a council we are using all options available to us to continue to provide a service. Face-to-face meetings have been cancelled but we are able to use technology to ensure that discussions and consultations can go ahead.
Our team of Planning Officers are all now working from home and have done so since Wednesday 18 March. Whilst there may have an impact on our service compared to normal we are still able to issue planning decisions. If meetings for planning applications are necessary an officer will seek to use conference call facilities or video calls.
We will endeavour to be as pragmatic as possible when agreeing extended periods for making decisions.
We continue to work hard to continue to deal with applications as quickly as possible.
A small number of planning applications need to be decided by the Planning Committee and we understand that the Government is to introduce legislation to enable council committee meetings to be held virtually for a temporary period
Whilst we continue to explore options available to us future Planning Committee meetings have been suspended until further notice. We appreciate that this may result in delays to applications and for this we apologise but in current circumstances we have no other choice.
Site visits for planning applications
Until further notice, no site visits will be able to take place on any planning applications. Applicants and agents can help us by sending us up-to-date video or photographs of the application site. Planning officers will be in contact on a case by case basis to discuss these options with applicants.
Once again we apologise for any inconvenience that this might cause and ask you to bear with us – we are doing everything in our powers to ensure that disruption to our ability to issue planning decisions is minimised.