Temporary measures for planning and development during COVID-19
IMPORTANT: COVID 19
The stricter controls in relation to the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic have had a considerable impact on the way in which Birmingham City Council is able to conduct its business.
Most of our staff are now working from home and we are experiencing difficulties in receiving and dealing with planning and related applications. This will result in changes in service delivery and normal procedures and we want to make you aware that there may be delays in responding to you as we adapt to our changing working practice.
Your co-operation will be needed if we are to continue to deal with any applications during this time. Clearly, if your clients are in a position so that they can wait for applications to be submitted, it will be very helpful if you could agree with them to delay submission.
For those applications that are, or have recently been submitted, we are considering alternative ways to deal with them during these unprecedented times. The following actions have already been taken:
- Council Offices: Offices are not open.
- Letters: Until further notice the Council is unable to accept any letters or applications submitted by post. Therefore all correspondence must be via email either to the case officer or to: email@example.com
- Planning Applications: All applications must be submitted electronically. If you have recently sent an application by post please email firstname.lastname@example.org to check if it has already been received as otherwise you will need to resubmit it electronically.
- Application Fees: All planning application fees must be paid via BACS as there is no facility to receive or pay in cheques or take payment by telephone. Please email email@example.com for our BACS details.
- Site Notices: As officers are currently only able to visit a site in limited circumstances the only way that we can achieve this is if applicants or agents print off and put up site notices. Guidance on how to put up site notices will be enclosed with all acknowledgements. In order that we have a record of this happening it will also be essential that a photograph of the site notice in place is taken and emailed to the case officer. It will help if you can explain the importance of this to your clients.
- Contacting the Case Officer: If you wish to check the progress of your application please wait at least 3 weeks after the Valid From date. Where possible, you can check the progress by going to www.birmingham.gov.uk/planningonline but if you must contact the case officer please do so by email.
- Extensions of Time: We will continue to try and process planning applications but we may take longer to reach a decision than we would normally take, and we may be awaiting responses from consultees. Therefore in some cases this may exceed the statutory determination period and an extension of time may be required.
- Application Site Visits: Case officers will only be able to make site visits in limited circumstances but to help speed up the process applicants can email photographs of the building and its surrounding which may mean that an application can be processed without a site visit. Case officers may request further photographs to help them in assessing your applications. Please enclose appropriate photographs of the site with your application.
- Planning Committee: This is an evolving situation but at present we are holding virtual/online committee meetings.
- Delegated Decisions: Where possible decisions on planning applications will be determined using delegated powers.
- Pre-Application Enquiries: We are suspending all pre-application site meetings. Written advice will still be offered, but again we may be delayed in responding to you.
- General Advice: We are currently providing general planning advice via email but not over the phone but that may change.
- Planning Appeals: In response to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), The Planning Inspectorate has published guidance on site visits, hearings, inquiries and events which is being updated and you should check these for yourself. At the moment there are no staff working in the Bristol Offices and all site visits have been cancelled.
Thank you for your help in these difficult circumstances and rest assured that we will do what we can to continue to process planning applications.
Ian MacLeod, Director – Inclusive Growth (Acting)