We understand that some councils are concerned about the implications of COVID19 for their capacity to process planning applications within statutory timescales. It is
important that authorities continue to provide the best service possible in these
stretching times and prioritise decision-making to ensure the planning system
continues to function, especially where this will support the local economy.
We ask you to take an innovative approach, using all options available to you to
continue your service. We recognise that face-to-face events and meetings may
have to be cancelled but we encourage you to explore every opportunity to use
technology to ensure that discussions and consultations can go ahead. We also
encourage you to consider delegating committee decisions where appropriate.
The Government has confirmed that it will introduce legislation to allow council
committee meetings to be held virtually for a temporary period, which we expect
will allow planning committees to continue.
We encourage you to be pragmatic and continue, as much as possible, to work
proactively with applicants and others, where necessary agreeing extended periods
for making decisions.