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Planning news – 2 April 2020

Covid-19: Quartermain outlines government support for planning authorities in final letter as chief planner
England’s chief planner Steve Quartermain has encouraged local planning authorities to use technology to continue their service and ensure that discussions and consultations can go ahead during the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19).
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Coronavirus Act allows virtual planning committee meetings
Planning committee meetings will be able to be held virtually during restrictions implemented to stem the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) under emergency legislation.
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Decline in planning decisions and applications in England
District-level planning authorities granted 83,500 decisions in the fourth quarter of 2019, which is equivalent to 87 per cent of decisions.
Laura Edgar, The Planner

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Its largely business as usual for us, but what about our customers?

As you will have seen from our earlier posts, we have recently been putting measures in place to protect our staff whilst ensuring continuity of service during the COVID-19 outbreak.  As a digital service, we have been fortunate to have a digitally skilled and mobile workforce that has adapted well to working from home.  That said, it has of course been a mindset shift for all of us as everyone acclimatises to different ways of working.  We’ve been monitoring the online application stats closely too, to try and understand what this means for our customers, at least in the short-term, as well as working with the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and Local Authorities to support the planning process across the board.

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Planning news – 19 March 2020

Planning Inspectorate implements 16 Rosewell recommendations
The Planning Inspectorate has updated Inquiries Review Action Plan, first published in May 2019, saying it has made ‘significant’ progress.
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Regional planning framework unveiled for England’s water resources
The Environment Agency has sent out a national framework setting out how England will manage water resources to avoid shortages by 2050 – putting a huge emphasis on regional plans.
Huw Morris, The Planner

Changes tabled for Welsh listed building consent regime
The Welsh Government has proposed changes to the listed building consent regime that would make planning authorities, rather than ministers, responsible for determining certain categories.
Roger Milne, The Planner

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Planning Portal: COVID-19 Business Continuity Statement

Updated: 25/03/2020

We are mindful that applicants, agents and local authorities rely on us to enable the planning and building control application process across England and Wales. We want to offer every assurance that we are taking appropriate measures to ensure that we remain open for business and deliver our services effectively to all our customers, while protecting the health and well-being of our employees and their families.

As the spread of COVID-19 increases, we want to provide transparency and share with you the measures we are taking to ensure business operations continue. This is being reviewed daily in line with government guidance and advice.

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Planning news – 5 March 2020

Pincher calls on businesses to design low-carbon homes
Housing minister Christopher Pincher has invited small businesses, designers and manufacturers to come forward with ideas for low-carbon, elder-friendly homes.
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Scheme to protect great crested newts extended
Natural England has rolled out a ‘strategic approach’ to great crested newt licensing across 37 local authorities to better protect the amphibian.
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Welsh minister calls for modular homes to boost social housing
Factory-made ‘modular’ housing should be used to speed up the number of high-quality social and affordable homes being built across Wales, housing minister Julie James insisted this week.
Roger Milne, The Planner

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Planning news – 27 February 2020

Ombudsman to protect new-build buyers from poor work
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed that a New Homes Ombudsman will soon protect homebuyers from ‘shoddy building work’.
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Bermondsey biscuit factory site to be regenerated
Deputy mayor for planning and regeneration Jules Pipe has approved plans for more than 1,500 homes and a secondary school in South London.
Laura Edgar, The Planner

Welsh minister clarifies policy on locally owned energy projects
Environment minister Lesley Griffiths has reiterated the administration’s commitment to encouraging more locally owned energy generation in Wales.
Roger Milne, The Planner

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Charity announced for the Planning Portal bike ride

Update 18 March 2020: 

The Beyond Somerset Sportive event that the team were due to participate in has been postponed until April 10/11 2021. However, our team of participants will endeavour to find another event and continue to train and raise money and awareness for the charity We Build the Future.

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Planning news – 30 January 2020

Defra launches natural capital tool
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched an online resource to guarantee ‘better’ environmental decision-making by valuing natural capital.
Laura Edgar, The Planner

WMCA launches design charter
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) launched the West Midlands Design Charter at Birmingham’s Mailbox complex last week.
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner

1,000-home plan submitted for Shropshire power station site
Plans to redevelop the Ironbridge power station site in Telford by building up to 1,000 homes and a retirement village have been submitted to Shropshire Council.
Laura Edgar, The Planner

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Forthcoming updates to our online application service

Updated 25 February 2020

Further to the update featured in last month’s blog post, we are pleased to announce that phase two of our three-part project to overhaul the current application system is scheduled to be implemented on the evening of 20 March. You can expect 1App to be unavailable from late on the Friday afternoon until Saturday morning. The exact times of this downtime will be signposted on the Planning Portal in the coming weeks.

In case you missed it, here’s the details of the project and what you can expect to see…

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Planning Portal team to cycle Cheddar Gorge for charity

Five members of the Planning Portal team will be cycling a gruelling 69-mile route over Cheddar Gorge, to raise money for charity.

Ben Price, Graeme Kirk, Ian Foster, Neil Davies and Scott Alford from the team in Bristol will be taking on the challenge in April. To get everyone involved we would like to invite you to suggest a worthy cause they should cycle in aid of.

You can suggest a charity by completing this online form:

Suggest a charity

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