Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice
Planning and Building Standards
Our teams are working hard to keep your applications progressing and maintain business continuity for all our customers. To enable us to do this, we have had to make temporary changes to our service delivery with immediate effect.
Keeping in touch
Like the rest of the council, many of our staff are working from home but have access to all the systems they have within the office, including email. This means that you can still contact officers. If you do not have a named contact please send your enquiry to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange for someone to get back to you. You can make urgent telephone enquiries by calling the Customer Service Centre on 0303 123 1015.
Importantly, should this change, we will let you know as soon as we can. There is currently no timescale for officers returning to work from Montrose House, Hamilton.
Applications and written enquiries
We would respectfully request that, wherever possible, you submit applications and other related documents through the Scottish Government’s e-development portal. We will continually update the information and advice on our website. Please let us know if you have any difficulties and we will try to resolve these by email or by phone.
We can continue to receive documents by post but we will only be able to access these once a week. This is to reduce the amount of time our staff have to work within the office. You will understand that it would be beneficial for everyone to receive correspondence through the national portal at this time to reduce delays. Neighbour notification letters are being sent out once a week and the advertisement of applications are still being published in the press, where necessary. Should you wish to make representations on an application, we would prefer you to submit these electronically via the Public Access system on the website or by email. In addition, in line with Scottish Government guidance, site notices will be published once a week on the Planning and building standards weekly list page of the website rather than posted on site.
We will also continue to determine applications using our wide ranging delegation powers. A virtual Planning Committee has also been recently held. There is now no requirement to make the committee meeting open to the public. Further information about this can be found on the council’s website.
As you will appreciate with the current situation, we have had to significantly reduce the number of site visits that can be made. However, site visits have now re-commenced. At the present time they are limited to essential visits only and we ask that you continue to provide us with alternative means of assessment wherever possible. If it is safe to do so, you can submit photographs of the application site to help us assess the impact of the proposal on the surrounding area.
Enquiries about suspected unauthorised development can still be made on the Planning enforcement page. We will try to deal with your enquiry as far as we can and keep you updated.
National advice and guidance
Temporary secondary legislation has been introduced in relation to statutory Pre-Application Consultation that applicants are required to carry out before submitting an application for proposals falling into the category of major development. It removes the normal requirement to hold a public event as part of the consultation process. Associated guidance has been produced by the Scottish Government which sets out alternative arrangements that should be considered to replace the public event.
Further advice and guidance to support the planning service during lockdown is expected to be produced. We will let you know how this will affect our current practices once it is published. In the meantime, we will be as pragmatic and flexible as possible. We will need to consider changing some current practices and consider temporary solutions.
The Scottish Government’s Building Standards Division has also provided advice and guidance which seeks to:
- outline a consistent and supportive approach to the management of applications with respect to:
- extending the duration of a building warrant
- the relaxation of the deemed refusal of warrant application which remains not granted after a period of nine months
- outline a pragmatic approach to the undertaking of reasonable inquiry through the assessment of alternative evidence
Our Building Standards officers have been made aware of this guidance and have been advised how they should implement it.
Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020
This legislation covers a wide range of subjects in relation to planning. The act extends the duration of planning permission for applications which are due to expire before 6 October 2020 to 6 April 2021. The same timescale applies to cases involving an application for approval of specified matters following the granting of permission in principle. You can find general information about this in Annex H of the Scottish Government Circular 3/2013 on Development Management Procedures.
We look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure the economic success and prosperity of South Lanarkshire.
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