Welsh Government Guidance for LPA
The effect of Covid-19 has resulted in many places of work having to adapt their style of working almost instantaneously. On the 27 March 2020, the Welsh Government (“WG”) released guidance to Local Planning Authorities relating to their planning service delivery and changes in procedure.
The key points may be summarised as follows:
WG are considering temporary amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Wales) Order 2012 (“DMPWO”). Such amendments will include the removal of the need for site notices and making information available for inspection at a location in the vicinity of the proposed development. Whilst this is being considered, WG are encouraging developers to make use of online services when engaging with local communities.
Processing of applications
- COVID-19 – All COVID-19 related applications are to be prioritised as a matter of urgency. WG have considered site visits for COVID-19 applications as ‘essential trips’, although any application unrelated to COVID-19 will not require a site visit. Satellite imagery and google street view is encouraged to be used as an alternative where possible.
- Validation – WG encourage all applications to be made online via Planning Applications Wales as the portal continues to function as normal. All online applications are to be validated in order to identify applications in accordance with priority.
- Timescales – The determination timescales in the DMPWO will not be altered, although consideration for the temporary removal of provision in legislation, to refund the planning application fee has been made. WG are encouraging developers to agree to extensions of time, but the ability to appeal to the Welsh Ministers on the grounds of non-determination will still be permitted.
Due to planning committees being cancelled, WG are considering how local authorities can continue to operate. The amendment of bespoke aspects of planning committees will be reviewed, and regulations are likely to come forward in light of the Coronavirus Act 2020 and its powers.
The National Development Framework is due to proceed to the next stage of the statutory preparation process. WG have advised that this process is likely to be delayed due to the prioritisation of urgent matters.
Technical Advice Notes have undergone changes which
came into force on 26 March. TAN 1 has been removed, and amendments to Planning Policy Wales have been made. TAN 11 and TAN 15 are currently being reviewed, and any consultation required will continue post COVID-19.
WG have advised that the Planning Inspectorate aims to process all appeals as ordinarily as possible. In order to assist, the Planning Inspectorate would be appreciative if you could inform them of your arrangements for planning committees to meet and delegated decision made with regard to the determination of planning applications and the issuing of enforcement notices.
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