Planning Services affected by CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Basildon Council remains open and appropriately staffed to ensure that the statutory functions of Planning Services can continue. However, in light of Government advice regarding gatherings, we have taken the decision to cancel all Planning Committee meetings until further notice. This will be kept under review.
There is, however, a requirement to continue making decisions on the applications that are scheduled to be determined by Planning Committee, and we are considering emergency measures to ensure we have a robust process in place. When this is finalised we will publish full details of the process on our website and through other communication channels. Regarding ongoing consultation on current planning applications, this is being reviewed, however, as a Council, we need to be mindful of the risks of not determining applications within the Government's prescribed time periods. All information connected with a planning application is available online and it is for all stakeholders and interested parties to determine their own arrangements and respond in a timely way. Any person who has an interest in any application is able to respond in the usual manner and all responses will be picked up by the team without delay and logged against the application.
Whilst many Town and Parish Councils do engage with the community and seek their views, such engagement is not necessary to enable consultation responses to be provided and individual members of the public should continue to respond individually to enable their views to be heard. Therefore, for the vast majority of applications, the Council does not see the need to extend the period of time to respond. However, there will be applications where exceptions need to be made such as in respect of major and/or complex applications. In such circumstances please liaise with the appointed case officer and where possible, we will look to accommodate those requests.
Planning officers will continue to visit sites but will follow the latest guidance in terms of protecting themselves, and the public, against Covid 19. The officers are also available by phone or e-mail to discuss current and potential projects as the Council sees this as an important service to support our communities and businesses. However all planned face to face meetings are cancelled until further notice.
These decisions are of course subject to change. Our approach will be under constant review and we will always take account of the latest Government advice. Thank you for your assistance.