The UK Government has issued clear guidance on how we should all be living in order to stop the spread of the virus.
Office buildings are now closed to the public, most development sites have stopped operating and resources in Councils across the Country are being shifted to essential and critical functions.
The Welsh Government (WG) has also issued some guidance to Local Planning Authorities on the planning process and has acknowledged that planning services will be "significantly disrupted and delayed".
The processing of planning applications and enquiries in Denbighshire requires sufficient staffing resources, access to copying and printing facilities in our buildings, visiting development sites to assess impacts and, for certain applications, decision making by a Planning Committee. All of the above have been, or are going to be reduced, restricted or stopped in order to comply with UK Government guidance.
Interim working arrangements
The Council's Local Planning Authority (LPA) wishes to follow the general UK Government guidance and protect its staff and customers from the spread of the virus. The LPA also wants to adhere to WG guidance and attempt to provide an on-going planning service as best it can. To do both of these things, however, is difficult and some hard decisions must be made. The following sets out the interim working arrangements for the LPA from April 2020 until our next review.
We will be accepting, attempting to validate and responding to paid for pre-application enquiries submitted electronically. Responses may be delayed during this time.
Planning applications and enquiries
We will be accepting applications submitted electronically through the planning portal or via e-mail. (Preferably through the planning portal).
Payments for such applications may only be made through BACS payment until further notice.
We will not be able to accept or process any hard copy, paper submissions until further notice.
We will be attempting to validate planning applications submitted electronically and will alert relevant statutory consultees, including City, Town and Community Council’s, of such valid applications via e-mail.
We will not be posting site notices, posting individual neighbour consultation letters or visiting development sites on any planning application (except, where feasible, for Covid-19 response or recovery development proposals) until further notice.
We will be seeking Extension of Time agreements (EOT’s) on planning applications where we have not been able to publicise in accordance with legislation and where Officers have been unable to carry out site visits and full assessments.
It is anticipated that most new, valid planning applications will be stalled until such time as we are able to consult neighbours, post site notices and visit sites.
We will give priority to applications linked to a Covid-19 response or recovery development proposal (i.e. new health or medical storage facility, food production or distribution facility, communication or essential utilities).
Please note – Whilst the LPA is committed to accepting and validating new applications it will not be able to determine applications until such time as full neighbour consultation and site assessments are possible.
All correspondence with the LPA must be via e-mail through the firstname.lastname@example.org address.
We will continue to accept valid electronic planning complaint forms, however, expect delays to most investigations and formal enforcement action unless they are linked to priority cases*.
Please contact Planning Inspectorate Wales for advice on the processing of any current or new planning appeals.
*Priority cases are those relating to unauthorised works to Listed Buildings, Protected Trees and cases where urgent Stop Notices are required.
These interim working arrangements will be reviewed and any updates will be circulated to relevant stakeholders
Latest news about our services and advice on the Coronavirus can be found on our website.