A London council is to this week hold what it claims is likely to be England's first "fully virtual" planning committee meeting since the government legislated to allow such events to be held remotely in response to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
Draft neighbourhood plans can be given "significant weight" in planning decisions if referendums have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, updated government planning guidance has advised.
Allowing online pre-application consultation events and suspending the need to post site notices are among a series of fresh measures being introduced by the Scottish Government in a bid to keep the planning system functioning during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Senior Specialist – Local Plan (Principal Policy Planner) Maldon District Council Maldon, Essex
- Project Officer - Planning Exeter City Council Exeter, Devon
- Senior Planning Officers North Lincolnshire Council North Lincolnshire
- Planner- Principal Planner (Career Grade) London Borough of Bexley Bexley (City/Town), London (Greater)
- Senior Policy Planners Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Cambridgeshire
- Principal Policy Planner (Project Manager) Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Cambridgeshire
- Assistant Planner - Solar Development Low Carbon Gloucester, Gloucestershire
- Forward Planning and Economic Growth Team Manager Mansfield and Ashfield Shared Service Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottingham
- Planning Officer Falkland Islands Government Falkland Islands (FK)
- Senior Planning Policy Officers X 2 Royal Borough of Kingston Kingston Upon Thames (City/Town), London (Greater)
News that the coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation of a series of neighbourhood plan referendums features in the latest Neighbourhood Watch update.
Councils will need to make better use of social media and online consultation methods to effectively consult on their local plans during the coronavirus crisis, say experts, but some warn that such techniques may not currently be suitable for all aspects of the process.
Local authorities are looking at using emergency delegated powers and a system of 'virtual' planning committees to allow decision-making to continue during the coronavirus outbreak. But practitioners warn that delegated powers are likely to be suitable for just a limited number of applications, while virtual committees face technical challenges and are likely to limit public participation.
Some practitioners say the government's latest December 2023 deadline for local plan adoption is an ambitious target that, given the slow progress of plan production to date, will be a challenge for many councils to meet. However, other observers say it should be achievable given the timescale.
During this current COVID-19 crisis we are in uncharted territory and are being asked to live one day at a time and not plan for tomorrow.
Faced with the force majeure of Covid-19, the past fortnight has exposed our planning system’s core features and its social and political spine. Central to this is the ability for decisions to be taken in a public forum.
As we went to press, strenuous efforts were being made to keep the planning system moving in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Planning's cartoonist casts his eye over the month's news....
Robert Jenrick’s recent statement ahead of another planning White Paper flirts with the idea of switching planning in England from a policy-based to a zoning-based system.
Buried amongst the many recommendations of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission is a recommendation to introduce Digital Building Passports.