Commonly asked questions and answers about the Coronavirus and our planning department

Will the Planning Department still be operating normally?

Staff within the Department are mainly working at home or have been redeployed to assist with other essential services. This means that we cannot operate normally but we are doing our best to do what we can to keep our services running as much as possible.

Will there be a delay in getting planning permission? What are the time frames for dealing with existing planning applications?

We will seek to determine current applications as soon as practicable, subject to the limitations on site visits and receiving consultation responses. Officers will work with applicants and agents to agree extensions of time where necessary, these are likely to request an initial period of one month after the deadline for decision. For most applications already submitted we will seek to determine on the basis of plans already submitted rather than seeking amendments.

Can people submit planning applications?

Yes. At present, we are unable to accept paper copies of planning applications. Planning applications can be submitted via the Planning Portal. If you are unable to do this please send your application to planning@north-norfolk.gov.uk. Please ensure that all the correct forms and information are included or your application may be delayed.

Will the Council's consultation processes change? How are you getting responses from Consultees?

Consultation processes will generally remain the same with most consultations already issued electronically. We would kindly ask that consultees respond online via our Planning Public Access System or email Planning.Consultation@north-norfolk.gov.uk.

You’ve consulted the Parish and Town Councils but meetings have been suspended due to Covid-19 and Government advice. What should they do?

We recognise these are challenging times for all of us. It is likely that extensions will be required to allow Parishes and Town Councils to respond to application proposals. Town and Parish Clerks should contact the case officer directly to agree an extension for specific cases or contact planning@north-norfolk.gov.uk so this request can be forwarded to the relevant officer.  

As an applicant or agent how can we get hold of case officers ?

Email is suggested at this time. Please contact the case officer and make sure you provide your contact phone number so they can speak to you about your application. If the case officer email address is unknown please contact planning@north-norfolk.gov.uk where this request can be forwarded to the relevant officer.

Are officers available for site visits or site meetings?

Social distancing requirements remain and will require a pre-visit assessment Officers will contact you before any visit to ensure both you and they can complete a visits securely. Site meetings will generally be discouraged with remote meetings being promoted wherever possible.

What happens to cases where a site notice is required?

Where a site notice is required to commence statutory public consultation periods this will still need to be done and will be posted at the time of the site inspection. Where a site inspection is not possible then officers will post the site notice on publically accessible land at the first available opportunity.

What happens to cases needing to be decided by Development Committee?

Whilst the Council is seeking to determine as many applications as possible using delegated powers. Where cases require committee decision this will take place at the earliest opportunity. Contact the case officer if you are unclear whether an application requires a committee decision and to discuss the expected date for referral.

When is committee going to be and how will it operate?

Our committee is meeting remotely, dates for meetings, agenda and operation public speaking / attendance are available on our committee pages.

 

Can I still obtain pre-application advice? Will it be delayed?

The pre-application advice service in relation to planning, trees and listed buildings is continuing but we will be offering a reduced service. Covid secure site visits will take place, remote evidence may be requested where this is not possible.

Please apply online using our pre-application service. The case officer will contact you to advise if delays are expected.

My planning permission is about to expire but I can't implement the proposal due to Covid-19 restrictions. Will the Council extend the period for implementing a permission?

New guidance has been issued, enabling development which has already received the grant of planning permission or listed building consent and would lapse between 23 March and 31 December 2020 to be extended until 1 April 2021. If this situation applies to you please contact us by email at planning@north-norfolk.gov.uk, we will be pleased to advise further.

Will the Council enforce if pre-commencement conditions are not discharged before commencement is necessary?

It is important that those seeking to start development do so in accordance with planning conditions attached to those permissions. You should seek to discharge all those conditions required to be discharged prior to commencement. If discharge is not possible due to Covid-19 then you should make clear why that is the case within your application to discharge conditions.

If this situation applies to you please contact the Council at the earliest opportunity at planning@north-norfolk.gov.uk so we can begin a dialogue and see what we can do to help where we can.

Formal enforcement action remains an option for the Council if other channels are exhausted.

I can’t submit an application as I can't currently provided the information required on the Local Validation checklist – can I submit them without and then give the info later?

No. Our local validation list still applies but we will be pragmatic and reasonable where we can so as to enable applications to be validated.

My application has already been submitted and is being significantly delayed - can I have a refund please?

Where we can we will determine current applications as quickly as possible. Working with applicants and agents to agree extensions where necessary and reasonable to do so. Where agreement is not possible we will either seek to determine the application or you have the right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate on grounds of non-determination after statutory time periods have elapsed.

Refunds will not usually be given for schemes already submitted and validated, except where no decision is made within 26 weeks and no extension has been agreed.

I don't have email - where do I send my letter with officers working remotely?

We would prefer to receive representations via email however you can still submit by post at:

Planning Service
North Norfolk District Council
Holt Road
Cromer
NR27 9EN

Please note that there will be additional processing time for representations sent via post.

My planning application needs an ecological survey (e.g. bat survey) do I still need to have one done?

Yes, you will still need to carry out the necessary ecological surveys at the correct time of year.  Suitably qualified and professional ecologists should be operating under the guidance of their professional body CIEEM (Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management). 

CIEEM has provided guidance for their members on carrying out site assessments and surveys. The most recent guidance can be found on their website.  Your ecologist will be able to advise you on which surveys they consider are necessary and which can be undertaken in the current circumstances.