Planning

Service Update 26/10/20

Following on from the cyber incident the Authority suffered over the 12/13th September 2020, we would like to update you with regard to our planning services.

Searches

We were able to resume our planning searches function on behalf of our constituent local authority land charges departments i.e. Powys CC, Monmouthshire CC and Carmarthenshire CC on Monday 12th October 2020, and I’m pleased to report that we are now up-to-date with this service.

We apologise sincerely for any inconvenience this disruption to the service caused.

Planning and related applications

We are now able to process planning and related applications.  Our website and public access system is now fully operational.  This means that applications can now be viewed on line and third party comments can be submitted via the website.

Where planning applications were already validated and being progressed at the time of the cyber incident, but where the public consultation process had not expired, we will be recommencing the 21 day public consultation period. We will be re-posting site notices and re-notifying neighbours.  If you have already submitted comments on those application, please resubmit them during this 21 day period as the previous comments may have been lost.

If you have recently submitted a planning application, we will continue to deal with these as soon as possible. Due to the cyber incident causing a backlog as to when application were validated, we may write to applicants requesting extensions of time to determine those applications.

Please note the Planning Portal has remained operational and we are registering and validating these applications on our planning database. 

If you have recently submitted a planning application, or already have one being processed by us, we will continue to deal with these as best as we can. Please note the Planning Portal is operational and we are registering these applications on our planning database. Likewise, if you need to engage in the planning process as a third party, or consultee, please continue to do so and we will hold your representations on file.

Enforcement

Enforcement cases are continuing to be progressed.  However if you submitted an enforcement complaint via our website between 12th September and 14th October 2020 we may not have received it.  Please download the enforcement complaint form from our website at www.beacons-npa.gov.uk/planning/enforcement-monitoring/forms and resubmit it via e-mail to enforcement@beacons-npa.gov.uk

We are following our business continuity plans and our IT team are working hard to resolve these issues as soon as possible.  We will provide further updates as and when we are able to.

Thank you for your continued understanding and we apologise for any inconvenience this has caused, should you wish to contact us, please email us at: planning.enquiries@beacons-npa.gov.uk – emails will be dealt with as soon as possible. Alternatively, if you wish to speak with us, please call our reception staff in the first instance, who can be contacted on either 07973 781479 or 07973 781510.

COVID-19 Planning Services: Current Working Arrangements

The Authority buildings are now closed and planning staff are working from home. In light of the severity and unprecedented nature of this situation we do not have any indication at the moment as to when the offices will re-open.  The situation is being kept under review and any changes to working practice will be highlighted here.

Development Management: Planning and Related Applications

Once the current IT issues outlined above have been resolved the following will apply:

  • Current applications including pre-application enquiries will, wherever practicable, be progressed to determination or response. If you wish to enquire about an existing application or pre application enquiry please e-mail planning.enquiries@beacons-npa.gov.uk
  • All committee meetings are now being held using Video Conferencing.  A link to the live stream will be posted on our website committee pages for members of the public to view.  
  • Until further notice, new applications including pre-application enquiries will need to be submitted electronically, either via the Welsh Government’s Applications Portal or via e-mail to planning.enquiries@beacons-npa.gov.uk. Such applications will be registered and acknowledged as normal, and Case Officers will contact applicants / agents to discuss individual cases.
  • We are now able to display most site notices for planning applications.  Where an Officer has deemed that a site notice is required to meet statutory requirements, but they are unable to visit site to place the site notice, in the interest of progressing such applications applicants or agents may receive site notices in the post.  If this is requested instructions regarding the procedure for displaying site notices will be enclosed.
  • Neighbour Notification Letters are being sent out as per usual practice
  • As we now move into a “fire-break” lockdown in Wales the restrictions on Officers visiting sites will be further risk assessed. Site visits will only progress where it can be determined that there is minimal risk of contact.  Officers will phone or email applicants or their agents to discuss the feasibility of a site visit taking place. Officers will request that they are afforded unaccompanied access to a site.  Officers will not enter site if they are not able to do so unaccompanied.  Officers will leave site if they believe that their safety or that of a member of the public is being compromised. 
  • As Officers are undertaking unaccompanied site visits specialist Officers, such as the Ecologist, or Archaeologist, may contact applicants to arrange their own unaccompanied site visit.
  • The Authority is not able to receive cash, cheque or telephone card payments due to the impact of the crisis.  Payment for planning applications and pre-planning enquiries can be made via the planning portal or alternatively by BACS transfer.
    Please send all invoices, remittances and other financial queries by email to finance@beacons-npa.gov.uk

Enforcement

Enforcement complaint forms can be downloaded from our website at www.beacons-npa.gov.uk/planning/enforcement-monitoring  and submitted to us via e-mail at enforcement@beacons-npa.gov.uk. Site visits are being undertaken where possible and in line with the above precautions

We will continue to progress existing cases and whilst we will endeavour to respond to urgent matters, the timescales within the Authority’s Planning Enforcement Charter are temporarily suspended during the Coronavirus crisis. If you wish to enquire about an existing enforcement matter please e-mail enforcement@beacons-npa.gov.uk

Policy and Heritage

Policy, Heritage and Ecology Officers will continue to provide expert advice on planning and related applications and enforcement matters.  As stated above Officers may be in contact separately to discuss site visit arrangements or to request photographs of a site.  If you have a query about a policy, heritage or ecology matter please e-mail planning.enquiries@beacons-npa.gov.uk

Local Development Plan

The NPA is currently still working on our replacement LDP (LDP2).  Our existing Delivery Agreement and Community Involvement Strategy, set out publication of the Deposit LDP June/July of this year.  This is becoming to be increasingly untenable.  We will not be issuing any future consultations until we are satisfied that they would not be compromised by the current or future restrictions on movement.  All LDP consultees will be contacted as and when we are clearer on the timetable amendments that may be necessary as a result of the coronavirus crisis.  If you would like to receive such a notification please contact LDP@beacons-npa.gov.uk

Planning Policy Consultations

The current consultation on the Brecon Town Plan will be extended indefinitely, a closure date will be issued following lifting of movement restrictions.  Any queries should be sent to placeplans@beacons-npa.gov.uk

We are closely monitoring Welsh Government guidance with regard to potential new measures to support the planning process in response to the current situation and will update the website as and when any changes occur.

Please be assured that the Planning Department will do its best to continue with the Service during these uncertain times, however your patience, understanding and assistance would be greatly appreciated.