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Planning service updates

Contruction site working hours

On 13 May 2020, the government published a statement on planning and construction working hours. This statement was updated on 25 March 2021. This responds to the need for the construction industry to adapt its normal working practices to make sure working on construction sites is safe, in line with social distancing guidelines.

Local Planning Authorities are expected to take a positive approach to requests from developers for greater flexibility around construction site working hours. We want to make sure that planning conditions are not a barrier to facilitating the safe operation of construction sites during coronavirus.

Working hours restrictions can be imposed on development sites either through a specifically worded planning condition or through an agreed construction management plan.

Meetings

We will only be offering face to face meetings where considered absolutely necessary and subject to officer availability.

The majority of meetings will continue to take place either by telephone conference call or virtual meeting.

This also applies to pre-booked appointments with the Duty Planning Officer.

Neighbour or other interested party comments

We ask that you register on our online Public Access for applications where you can make comments on applications.

If you feel that a photograph would be helpful this can be sent by email to the planning officer.

We ask that you are patient as there may be a delay in posting your comments online during this time. 

Postal submissions should be avoided at this time and, if made, may experience delays.

Planning applications and pre-application advice

The planning service will continue to register, process and determine planning applications and, with our legal section, continue to complete Section 106 Agreements.

It will also continue to provide a pre-application advice service.

The main changes are as follows:

  • council officers are mostly working from home and will only be undertaking face to face meetings or carrying out site visits where absolutely necessary
  • applicants may be asked to provide extra information to help in the consideration of applications (for example photographs or key dimensions or distances)
  • telephone discussions or video conference calls may be held for applications and pre-application enquiries - these will be arranged by the case officer
  • Advisory Planning Committee meetings will be held virtually with smaller, ‘in person’ meetings held where necessary
  • councillors will not be able to make their normal site visits prior to a committee meeting

Planning committee meetings

The Planning Committee is currently being held virtually, operating as an Advisory Committee in conjunction with temporary delegated procedures. A smaller ‘in person’ meeting is being held when needed.

Details and agendas of future Advisory and Planning Committee meetings are available online.

Councillors will not be able to make their normal site visits prior to a committee meeting.

Planning decisions - extensions of time

If these measures need additional time for the planning officer to assess and determine an application, then the officer may contact the applicant or agent to agree an extension of time.

We would be grateful if applicants or agents respond favourably to any such reasonable requests.

Site visits

At present, site visits will only happen where absolutely necessary and where it is considered safe to do so.

No visits requiring access into or through buildings will be made. However, we want to continue delivering services and making planning decisions where we can.

During this time, applicants and agents will need to provide additional information. This includes comprehensive photographs and, in some cases, videos, of the outside and inside of properties to help the planning officer.

Site photograph guidance

As a general guide please provide the following photographs of the site:

  • street scene showing the property in the context of the adjoining properties, including parking arrangements
  • views towards the proposed development from the front, rear and all sides
  • views towards adjoining or other properties abutting the site, clearly showing the existing windows, materials and any level changes
  • an annotated block plan to show the location and direction of the photographs taken together with the reference number, address and date photo taken

Where considered appropriate a video may be requested.

You should also include a declaration to confirm that the information submitted is correct and an accurate reflection of the site and its context.

These temporary arrangements will remain in place until normal business arrangements can resume.

Please be aware that any missing information may restrict our ability to fully assess your application and incur delays. In order to minimise any delays please provide as much information as possible.

Submission of planning applications

The planning service will continue to register, process and determine planning applications and, with our legal section, continue to complete Section 106 Agreements.

Planning applications should be made using the planning portal website

Postal submissions should be avoided at this time and, if made, may experience delays.

Statutory and non-statutory consultees

During this time, it may take longer than normal for consultation comments to be received and uploaded. We ask that you are patient and that you continue to monitor the council's public access website. 

Any comments from consultees should be submitted online and not by post.

Emerging Bracknell Forest Local Plan

Consultation on the pre-submission version of the Bracknell Forest Local Plan closed in May 2021.

The representations received, together with a list of the main issues raised, supporting documents and the Local Plan, will be sent to the Secretary of State for examination by an independent inspector.

The appointed inspector will look at legal compliance and the soundness of the Local Plan.

Contact information

Planning Team

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