The Council's Planning Response to Covid-19
The Council's Planning Response to Covid-19
and Christmas Opening 2021/22
The Council offices are closed from 2pm on 24 December and will reopen on Tuesday 4 January 2022. During this period no planning staff will be contactable. If urgent action is required then please contact the Council by phone on 0191 2787878. Applications can still be submitted through the Planning Portal and Pre-application requests via the Council website.
In response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic a temporary range of measures have been introduced to assist in the operation of the city's planning function. This can be viewed here (pdf).
General operational information
Will officers continue to be contactable?
We are following the government advice and our officers are working remotely from their homes. There will limited planning presence in offices. All staff are enabled for home working and are therefore contactable from home via email and phone.
Are the council offices still open to the public?
No. Our offices are closed to the public to ensure the safety of our staff and our residents.
Will my application take longer?
In a limited number of cases there may be a delay in determining applications.
Can I still submit a planning application in hard copy?
No, we apologise but we are unable to accept hard copy applications at this time because we have no way of collecting incoming mail for the time being. You may wish to consider resubmitting online via the Planning Portal.
I am an agent who usually receives hard copy correspondence. Will this continue?
To reduce risks to our customers and staff we need to process electronically as much as possible. If you have submitted an application a Validation Officer may contact you and request an email address to use on a temporary basis. If you are an agent who doesn’t usually accept email but can on a temporary basis, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I pay for my planning application?
If you have submitted your planning application via the Planning Portal please arrange to pay the Planning Portal direct. If you submit by email to newcastle city council payments for planning applications should be made online via the Council’s website and other fees can also be paid over the phone, more details here . If you pay your planning application fee by phone, please email email@example.com to advise that you have paid to help reduce delays.
How should I submit an Environmental Statement? How can this be viewed?
Government Environmental Impact Assessment guidance does not require this to be submitted in hard copy. They need to be submitted electronically so it will be available on the Council’s website in the usual way. The guidance states that applicants should also make copies of the Environmental Statement available to the public. Either free of charge or at a reasonable cost reflecting printing and distribution costs, which is not part of the Council’s procedures. Interested parties may wish to check the online planning register for details and contact the applicant or agent direct to arrange. We recognise that EIA applications can contain a large number of documents which may be difficult to share electronically. If you are submitting an EIA application please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on how best to proceed.
I have a question about the validation process. Who do I contact?
If you have a question regarding a specific application that has been submitted, please contact the validation officer listed on correspondence you may have received. If you have a general question about the submission and validation process, then please contact email@example.com.
Pre-applications and other services
Can I still get hard copies of information and documents from the Planning service?
The additional services for providing hard copies of plans, documents, any planning application forms and the report a breach of planning form is currently suspended. If the matter is urgent please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I still get planning history information and other discretionary services?
Yes but we will only be able to provide discretionary services which can be completed electronically or where we can gain access to manual records. This includes history searches as we have limited access to microfiche or other non-electronic records at this time. Any requests received which cannot be dealt with in full will be put on hold and completed as soon as possible.
Decision making, Planning Committees and other meetings
Are all Major planning application still being considered at Planning Committee?
No, In response to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic a temporary range of measures have been introduced to assist in the operation of the city's planning function. For example, a temporary revised scheme of delegation has been introduced.
Will Planning Committees take place?
Yes, although at present , to limit numbers attending the meeting, the public is not able to attend in person. The meeting are available to view through the Council’s Planning Committee webpage
Can I register to speak at a virtual Planning Committee?
Hearings, where the public and ward councillors can address the Committee, should only take place where it is considered necessary to assist the determination of the planning application.
All requests for hearings should be made in writing to the Assistant Director Planning at least 4 days prior to the Committee meeting. No more than one person will be heard on behalf of the applicant or objector. Where there are more than one applicant or objector, they should determine among themselves who will represent them. The applicant and the objector will each be allowed up to 5 minutes to address the Committee and if there is more than one person they will need to decide how to allot their 5 minutes. Those wishing to speak will be required to submit a written statement (maximum of 2 sides of A4 font 12) by 12 noon on the Tuesday immediately before the committee meeting. This will enable the statement to be circulated to Committee in advance of the meeting.
Are face-to-face meetings cancelled for now and if so is there the option to arrange conference calls/video links?
All meetings with staff are can be arranged by Skype, Microsoft Teams or by telephone.
Are you undertaking Planning enforcement?
Yes, but we may not be fully investigating matters where significant harm cannot be demonstrated. There is new legislation to allow certain temporary changes of use such as take-aways; construction sites are allowed to request to extend their working hours. We will also take a pragmatic approach to some developments which are undertaken purely to cope with the impact of COVID-19, such as new outside temporary furniture. The Local Planning Authority will tolerate and not take any enforcement action for 2021, in respect of any business in a Town Centre who wishes to place outside temporary furniture adjoining their premises without planning permission, providing there are no public safety implications. This is to allow businesses to re-open safely and provide additional space to enable customers to exercise any social distancing requirements as well as supporting businesses through this difficult economic period. We will inform you of our intended course of action when looking into your complaint.
Developer contributions – S106s and Community Infrastructure Levy
Do I still need to make my CIL payments?
Yes, we will be continuing to process CIL matters and issuing Liability Notices as development is granted permission. Payment of CIL is triggered by commencement of development, so if development commences, CIL becomes payable. A new Instalment Policy came into effect from 1 April 2020, which delays initial payment by six months and then allows six months in between payments. Any development which commences whilst this Instalment Policy is in place, will have those payment terms applied and set out in the Demand Notice. If you have any queries about making payments, please contact the Infrastructure Team at email@example.com
Do I still need to make my s106 payments?
Yes, we will be continuing to issue Demand Notices when we are advised or become aware that a s106 payment has been triggered. We are currently issuing Demand Notices with three-month payment terms, instead of the usual 30 days, in order to help development cashflows during this difficult time. If you have any queries about making payments, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Are public consultations still going ahead?
Public consultations will still take place on planning documents. Our Statement of Community Involvement contains information on how we will be engaging with the community at the current time.
Recovery – opportunities and process changes
I need more outside space for my business to comply with social distancing requirements. Do I need planning permission?
Planning permission is usually required for businesses to put tables, chairs and other temporary furniture outside their boundary. We will not ask for a planning application for these works or enforce where there is no consent in 2020, as long as there are no public safety implications and the works are temporary and adjoining the business. This is part of our recovery strategy to enable businesses to re-open safely. We trust that businesses will do this together, and consider impacts on neighbours.
How do I apply to extend working hours on a construction site?
A positive and flexible approach to enforcement, and retail opening. was confirmed in a statement by the secretary of state on 25 March 2021 relating to:
- the Government would like local planning authorities to continue to take a positive and flexible approach to planning enforcement action to support economic recovery and support social distancing while it remains in place.
- Planning Enforcement action which would result in the unnecessary restriction of retail hours between 7am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, from Step 2 of the roadmap (no earlier than 12 April) until the introduction of Step 4 of the roadmap (scheduled for no earlier than 21 June 2021).
- the delivery of food and other essential goods to retailers until the introduction of Step 4 of the roadmap (scheduled for no earlier than 21 June 2021). This will help supermarkets and other retailers to continue to continue to provide home deliveries while restrictions are still in place.
In addition, temporary legislation has been introduced to assist business during the recovery period, for example, by granting temporary permitted development rights for a range of developments that would normally require planning permission. Further guidance on these and other measures introduced to make it easier to operate the planning system at this time is available on the Government 's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Planning update webpage here : https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-planning-update
Other general information
Where can I get the Council’s most up-to-date information on Coronavirus/Covid-19?