Coronavirus: Planning service update
As coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to impact on all aspects of our daily lives, our planning and building control officers are now working remotely. This will have some implications for how we operate. We wish to re-assure you that we are doing all that we can to help maintain an appropriate level of service at this time in accordance with government guidelines.
How you can help us during this time
Contacting the planning service:
General enquiries should be made through our existing on-line systems or by email.
Officers can be contacted by email and planning enforcement enquiries should be made through the website in the normal way.
Meetings with Officers
We will not be able to offer a face to face service until further notice. Where meetings are considered necessary officers will contact you to arrange either a conference call or organise virtual meetings whichever is appropriate.
Submission of planning applications
These should be made using the Planning Portal website and to check whether you need planning permission to carry out certain types of development.
Postal submissions should be avoided at this time and if made may experience delays.
Site visits by officers will generally only be carried out on those sites which do not require officers to enter the inside of a property or building and where officers have first contacted the applicant / agent to discuss the suitability of a visit and whether arrangements can be made to accord with up to date government advice on social distancing and safe access. Case officers will then decide whether a site visit can be made in a safe way - if this is not possible we will discuss the potential for alternative ways of assessing the site, further advice on this is set out below.
Where it is essential to enter a property, there will be strict measurements that would need to be met to minimise risk for all parties. Officers will discuss these on a case by case basis.
Enforcement site visits, will also resume as set out above and strict safety and distance precautions will still apply.
Where it is not safe to enter a site, applicants and agents will be required to provide additional information including comprehensive photographs and in some instances videos of the outside and where necessary the inside of properties to assist us. If we consider a site visit to be essential and this cannot be carried out in accordance with the above advice, we will not determine an application and the applicant/applicant's 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.
Where the proposal involves highway works or other works or changes of use affecting the highway:
- 1 & 2 should be taken from 2.4m back from the carriageway edge in the centre of the access;
- A photograph of speed limit terminals in the vicinity of the site should be included;
- Please include anything extra that you feel will provide a fuller picture of the site context and surrounding area;
- An accompanying plan should clearly reflect the view of any photographs submitted.
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 including, but not limited to, the following:
- The speed limit of the road, and location of any changes in speed limit;
- Carriageway and footway widths of the surrounding highway network; and
- Level of visibility achievable from the access point, noting the vertical alignment of the highway must also be considered.
Further information with respect to our requirements can be found in the Buckinghamshire Council Highways Development Management Guidance and Manual for Streets.
These temporary arrangements will remain in place until such time that the Government advises us that normal business arrangements can continue.
Officers are visiting site to display a site notices. Where a site notice is posted please do not approach an officer posting a site notice unless it is essential and in all events, please follow Government advice to maintain a 2 meter distances from the officer.
Parish & Town Council Consultations
For a temporary period, whilst the statutory 21 day period will still be given in the notification, we will in practice allow 28 days for parish and town councils to comment. Any comments should be submitted online.
Statutory & 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 on line and not by post.
Neighbour / Other interested Party Comments
We ask that you do not submit any representations by post at this time and that you register on our online Public Access for Applications where you can make comments on application. We ask that you are patient as there may be a delay in posting your comments online during this time.
Planning Decisions - Extensions of Time
If our interim measures do necessitate the need for an additional period of time for the planning officer to assess and determine an application(s), then the officer may need to contact the applicant or agent to agree an Extension of Time. We would be very grateful if applicants/agents would respond favourably to any such reasonable requests at this challenging time.
Other important information
The Planning Committees that were scheduled for March 2020 have now been cancelled. Please look at our web pages for details of future Planning Committees
Emerging Local Plan
Our webpages will continue to be updated on the latest events. For more information go to the Wycombe Local Plan.
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Communities- new legislation
The government is to introduce some temporary planning relaxations of planning rules, so that pubs and restaurants can operate hot food takeaway services.
Furthermore, enforcement restrictions have been temporarily relaxed to allow overnight deliveries of food and other essential products to supermarkets and other food retailers.
There have been a number of government announcements including the intention to extend the life of a planning application, flexible hours on construction sites to support social distancing and changes to speed up the pace of the planning appeal process: