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Planning and Building Control customer charter

On this page you will find the customer charter, which sets out what you can expect from us as a department for Planning and Building Control in Wycombe.

Our overall aim:

"to achieve sustainable development and improve the quality of the environment of the district"

Service Objectives:

To help us deliver this aim we have the following service objectives:

  • to engage effectively with the community
  • to provide an accessible service
  • to provide an efficient and cost effective service
  • to work effectively through councillors and staff
  • to contribute to corporate aims
  • to monitor the improvement of our service

Our Customers

Our customers are diverse, and include:

  • the general public
  • developers, landowners, and agents
  • community and voluntary groups
  • councillors and other council services
  • local and regional partnerships
  • businesses and potential investors
  • infrastructure providers
  • government departments and agencies
  • other local authorities

Our customers also have differing interests, such as:

  • some directly use our services
  • some would like us to take a particular action on a planning issue
  • some seek to influence the decisions we make
  • some seek information, support, and advice
  • some work in partnership with us
  • all customers are affected by the decisions we make

Our Pledges

The below pledges are for all areas of our Service.

Acting professionally we will:

  • be helpful, courteous, and treat you with fairness and respect
  • act with integrity and honesty
  • give accurate advice in a professional manner
  • communicate clearly with you
  • seek you views and use them to improve our service
  • keep you informed about the progress of your enquiry
  • deal with your complaints, admit any mistakes and put things right quickly
  • prevent discrimination of any kind of promote equality of opportunities

Sharing information we will:

  • publish a Weekly Planning Bulletin (available free of charge by email) with updates on new documents, consultations, and planning decisions
  • include all key information and policy documents on our website
  • provide general advice and information about Planning, Growth and Environment matters through our customer service centre

In return, please:

  • treat our staff with respect
  • provide us with accurate information and plans
  • tell us when your circumstances change
  • tell us what you think of our service

When you contact the Council, we aim to:

Our Pledges - Development Management

For advice, information, and planning applications, we will:

  • provide general Planning Regulation advice (by phone, letter, email, website and through our customer service centre)
  • provide pre-application advice on development proposals in line with the scheme published on our website
  • check all new applications submitted within 2 working days of receipt and either have passed them for registration or contacted the applicant/agent to resolve outstanding matters
  • acknowledge receipt of valid planning applications within 3 working days of registration and allocated a case officer
  • publish planning application details on our website via PublicAccess to make it easier to become involved in the planning process
  • carry out public consultation on planning applications by means of neighbour letters, site notices, and press advertisements (as appropriate)
  • listen and take account of issues raised through neighbour notification on applications and other consultation procedures
  • ensure public involvement at Planning Committee in accordance with our scheme of public speaking
  • promote pre-application public consultation in line with our Statement of Community Involvement
  • provide access to a weekly list of planning applications received and decided on our website
  • aim to determine planning applications within the Council's published targets whenever possible

For planning enforcement, we will:

  • provide a 'planning enforcement investigation request form' on our website to allow alleged breaches of planning control to be reported
  • investigate all recorded breaches of planning control in line with our Statement of Service Provision: The Enforcement Plan for the Planning and Sustainability service
  • clearly explain to the complainant the reason if we decide not to take action
  • write to the offender (where a breach of planning regulations is identified) and state clearly what breach has occurred, the options/timescale available to resolve it, and what will happen if matters are not put right

For planning appeals, we will:

  • inform all who commented on a planning application when an appeal is lodged with the Planning Inspectorate
  • defend our decisions at planning and related appeals (e.g. public inquiries, hearings, and written representations)

Our Pledges - Building Control

To deliver an excellent service, as reflected in our Quality Management System accreditation, we will:

  • check 90% of full plan Building Regulation applications within 10 working days
  • make a decision on 100% of full plan applications within 5 weeks or 2 months (if agreed)
  • inspect 100% of building work that is in progress on the same working day if you request an inspection before 10:30am
  • issue 95% of completion certificates within 2 working days after satisfactory completion
  • rename or renumber 100% of houses within 10 working days
  • when conducting site visits, staff will be helpful, courteous, and give accurate advice in a professional manner

Our Pledges - Spatial Planning

The team is working to provide a robust framework for sustainable development and regeneration whilst promoting good quality development conservation, we will:

  • meet our commitments as set out in the Local Development Scheme (work programme) to produce a sound Local Plan within a specified timetable
  • publish any amendments to the Local Development Scheme and explain why these are being made
  • meet or exceed the minimum statutory requirements to involve our residents and other stakeholders in the Local Plan(s) in like with our Statement of Community Involvement
  • acknowledge written representations received in relation to Local Plans
  • publish a Monitoring Report with information about development trends (including rates of house-building and future land supply), reports on output indicators and performance against targets
  • provide information on a range of statistical and demographic information drawing on census information
  • provide more detailed policy guidance about sites and specific policy issues through Supplementary Planning Documents
  • provide a clear schedule of what planning policy guidance exists and how it can be obtained
  • provide conservation area character appraisals, where available, to inform development proposals in our conservation areas
  • provide information about developer contributions that have been collected and how these are used
  • provide guidance on our website for communities regarding locally produced planning documents (e.g. Neighbourhood Development Plans)
  • respond to concerns regarding significant trees facing imminent risk by way of a site visit to consider the appropriateness of a tree preservation order within 2 working days
  • deal with 85% of applications for tree works within 6 weeks for conservation area applications, and 8 weeks for tree preservation orders

How will we monitor our pledges to you?

To monitor our pledges to you, we will:

  • carry out a planning application user survey every 5 years and use the feedback to identify service improvements
  • carry out a building control user survey each year and use the feedback to identify service improvements
  • carry out consultation and training events on planning and sustainability service issues and seek customer feedback for key events
  • record our performance against key targets and publish it on our website
  • seek feedback through annual planning forum and 'quality counts' events
  • through continuing to seek accreditation under 'Investors in People', and ISO 14001
  • adhere to the council's equality and diversity framework and conducting equality impact assessments on key documents we produce
  • periodically review our service customer charter

Compliments, comments, and complaints

Have we got it right? If we have, we'd love to hear from you. If not, please tell us - your feedback is vital to ensure our services meet and exceed your expectations.

If you have any comments on our service we would encourage you to initially contact the officer dealing with the matter. Their name and direct telephone number should be on any correspondence from us.

If you remain dissatisfied with our service you may pursue your concern using the Council's formal complaint procedure.

* - the reference to correspondence covers letters and emails except for those submitted in response to consultations (e.g. planning applications and draft development plans). In these cases correspondence will be summarised and reported as part of the decision-making process.