Planning service updates
Contruction site working hours
On 13 May 2020, the government published a statement on planning and construction working hours. 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.
We will not be able to offer a face to face meetings until further notice. Where meetings are considered necessary, officers will contact you to arrange either a telephone conference call or a 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 via 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 will be working from home and will not be doing face to face meetings or carrying out site visits
- applicants may be asked to provide extra information to assist consideration of the 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
- we are working to establish virtual Planning Committee meetings - we hope to hold the first one end of April or early May
- councillors will not be able to make their normal site visits prior to a committee meeting
- some of the applications which were due to be considered at the postponed March meeting of the Planning Committee are being determined under temporary delegated procedures (please contact the relevant case officer for further information)
Planning committee meetings
The Planning Committee is being held virtually. Please look at our web pages for details and agendas of future Planning Committees. Councillors will not be able to make their normal site visits prior to a committee meeting.
Planning decisions - extensions of time
If our interim measures necessitate the need for an additional period of time for the planning officer to assess and determine an application, then the officer may need to contact the applicant or agent to agree an extension of time. We would be very grateful if applicants or agents respond favourably to any such reasonable requests at this challenging time.
At present, we are suspending site visits until further notice. However, we want to continue delivering services and making planning decisions where we can.
During this time, applicants and agents will be required to provide additional information including comprehensive photographs and in some cases videos of the outside and where necessary the inside of properties to assist the planning officer. If we consider a site visit to be essential, we will not determine an application and the applicant or agent will be advised.
Site photograph guidance note
As a general guide please can you provide the following site 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
- 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 such time that 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 these times, it may take longer than normal for consultation comments to be received and uploaded. We ask that you are patient during these times and that you continue to monitor the council's public access website.
Any comments from consultees should be submitted online and not by post.
The New Local Plan
Officers are continuing to work on the Local Plan including preparing responses to the comments made during the previous consultation, any necessary amendments to policies and further evidence base work.
It is likely that there will be some delay to the published timetable for the Local Plan as it is not clear how quickly some of the evidence base work can be completed during the pandemic.
This will be kept under review and an updated timetable (Local Development Scheme) will be prepared as appropriate. It is unlikely that the Draft Submission Bracknell Forest Local Plan will be published for consultation until after the 31 August 2020.