Pre-application suspension announcement
Suspension of Pre-Application advice and Duty Planner service
Updated message 3 August 2023
Following the message announced on 1st June 2023, the Council has been carrying out an ongoing review into the reinstatement of the Pre application and duty planner service, having regard to available staffing resources to enable it to provide a timely and high-quality service. As with previous messages, the position with regards to adequate levels of resourcing and other challenges the planning service faces is unchanged and regrettably, we are not in the positon to reinstate these services at this point in time. The suspension therefore will remain in place from the end of July 2023 for a further period of 6 months. We appreciate that this will cause further frustration to some of our customers, however, it would not be fair on potential users to pay for a service which cannot deliver to its business model nor value for money.
We will, however, will continue to offer pre-application advice in relation to Major Development (with a meeting) and Strategic Proposals as well as works to both listed buildings and trees subject to a tree preservation order. This is due to the national drive to increase housing provision and in particular, affordable housing in the right places. Furthermore, the council have a legal requirement to protect and preserve its heritage buildings and sites in both the local and national interest, and its most valuable trees and green infrastructure. As such, these areas of our service requirements have to be given priority.
On a more positive note, we are currently in the process of a recruitment drive for a number of permanent positions. Should recruitment be successful, this will enable us to fill the current vacancies we are carrying, and those key positions currently occupied by agency staff to be able to provide the necessary levels of staffing and workforce stability to maintain delivery on our statutory requirements (the determination and quality of decision making of planning and other applications) and have the resilience to provide our discretionary services (pre application and duty planner) in the near future.
This message will be updated at the end of November 2023.