We continue to deliver our planning service, while following the latest Government advice regarding coronavirus.
Following Government social-distancing advice, we are seeking to avoid all face-to-face meetings and restrict site visits where possible. Email will be the preferred means of contact at this time. Officers will suggest conference calls and other similar means of available technology where necessary. This can include the submissions of up-to-date video and/or photographs of the site/location with the application to assist remote working. When a site visit is required, it might be necessary to postpone it until circumstances permit. Where a site visit can be accommodated, this will only take place subject to safeguards*:
In line with recent government guidance, we would ask that applications be submitted online. This will assist remote working by reducing the amount of staff time required at the offices to process paper applications. Planning Officers continue to work from home. While we will still aim to process an application within the normal determination period, where delays do occur and in line with current arrangements, we will contact applicants/agents to seek agreement for a formal extension.
The Planning Committee function is continuing with remote meetings now being held. Members of the Planning Committee and officers will attend remotely, while the public will be able to watch the meeting through a live link posted on the website. More information about the virtual committee process is available here.
We would like to thank everyone for their cooperation during these unprecedented times.
*For a site visit to take place in the current circumstances, written confirmation will need to be provided that no-one at the property (if residential) is self-isolating, updated up to the day of the site visit if necessary - If they are self-isolating then the visit will be postponed until written confirmation is received that no-one in residence is self-isolating; the site visit must be unaccompanied (no meet or greet or any interaction with the case officer); and the case officer won’t need to access a residential dwelling and/or any other building (in which people normally reside/work) to be able to properly conduct the visit and assess the proposal. Where these criteria cannot be satisfied, the site visit will need to be postponed.
Pubs and restaurants operating as hot food takeaway outlets
The Government has relaxed permitted development regulations for 12 months so that pubs and restaurants (Class A3 and A4 uses) can operate temporarily as hot food takeaway outlets without needing planning permission for a change of use. Find out more here. Owners of such businesses must notify the Local Planning Authority if they are intending to change the use of their premises to a temporary use for the "provision of takeaway food" during the 1 year period from 24/03/2020 to 23/03/2021 and can do so, in writing, by emailing DevelopmentControl@DOVER.GOV.UK identifying the business name and address and when the hot food takeaway use commenced. At the end of the temporary period those businesses will be required to revert to their original lawful uses.
For planning enforcement purposes, during this public health emergency, bearing in mind the relaxing of planning rules, as set out above and the government’s drive to ensure food chain supply to the nation, where there is a breach of planning control, due consideration will be given to proportionality of pursuing any action. It is unlikely that any action will be taken which could affect food supplies. Alleged breaches of planning control can be notified by contacting Planningenforcement@dover.gov.uk or through the Councils website following the links https://www.dover.gov.uk.
Operators of pubs and restaurants may still be subject to laws around licensing & noise control and are encouraged to contact the Council’s licensing team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Queries and advice on noise control should be directed to the Environmental Protection Team at email@example.com
Delivery restrictions to retailers
The Government has relaxed restrictions on the times that deliveries can be made to shops. It is vital that deliveries of food, sanitary and other essential products over the coming weeks can be made as quickly and safely as possible. Find out more.
Minimising disruption to the supply chains on which our communities depend is vitally important so the Council does not propose to take action that would affect deliveries of essential supplies at this time.
Advice from the Environment Agency
Following the latest Government guidance our planning teams will move to home working this week. This is not going to be without difficulties as our organisation is still in recovery following the recent floods. There are also ongoing issues with our IT which will delay our response times. We pride ourselves on a high level of service but may not be able to guarantee it at this time.
We will endeavour to respond to requests as quickly as we can with the resources we have but please be mindful we are working in exceptional circumstances at the moment.
Advice from Natural England
In response to Coronavirus, Natural England have issued the following advice relating to the operation of their development management and wildlife licensing services, which can be viewed here.
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