We want to advise customers that there is a significant backlog in the determination of planning applications and pre-application enquiries arising from the ‘lockdown’ period. As a result it is currently taking longer than our usual 10 week performance target to determine ‘local’ planning applications, and to respond to enquiries. Whilst officers are working hard to address this issue, customers are advised that ‘local’ applications are currently taking an average of 14 weeks to determine. We apologise for the delay.
Where officers identify that there is a procedural barrier (e.g. requirement for submission of further supporting information) to reaching a positive determination of a planning application then they will seek to identify and communicate such matters at the earliest opportunity, and arrange for a formal extension to the statutory determination period.
SEPA Consultation Responses: Applicants are advised that as a result of a cyberattack on 24th December 2020 SEPA are currently unable to respond to planning consultations. Applications with an outstanding requirement for input from SEPA as a statutory consultee, or where SEPA have an unresolved objection will require to be held in abeyance until such time as SEPA’s input can be resolved. Further detail on effects of the cyberattack, SEPA’s current service status, and their Action Plan for resumption of business are available online. Planning officers will seek to identify affected applications and contact agents/applicants to agree necessary extensions to application determination periods where appropriate.
Validation of new applications: Customers are advised that the Central Validation Team are currently managing a backlog of new planning application submissions due to higher than normal demand. Not including the shutdown of non-essential Council services over the Christmas and New Year period (25th December – 4th January) there is currently a delay of between 7-10 working days from submission for new and resubmitted application details to be reviewed by a technical member of staff. New submissions and resubmissions will be processed in order of their date of receipt.
All submitted applications continue to be validated in line with the National Validation Standards published by the Heads of Planning Scotland. Customers are advised to ensure that any plans and supporting documents are prepared in compliance with these requirements in order to increase the likelihood of their application being validated at the first attempt and to avoid further delays being incurred through the requirement to submit further/amended information before the application can be formally registered.
Council offices remain closed to members of the public following government advice on the actions we must all take to stay safe from coronavirus. Whilst as a service we are well equipped to work flexibly from home, it is anticipated that there may continue to be some disruption due to staff availability and delivery of processes which currently rely on hardcopy documentation.
Contacting the Planning (Development Management) Service:
You can help us by getting in touch through appropriate channels:
- Viewing planning application details – please utilise Public Access. If you have problems using the online service please use the Planning Enquiries online form, or telephone 01546 605518 for assistance.
- Submission of representations/objections/support to planning applications – please use Public Access, or submit by e-mail to the relevant area office e-mail address (see below). (Hard copy representations will still be accepted but may take longer to process).
- General Enquiries – please use the Planning Enquiries online form, or telephone 01546 605518
- Apply for Planning Permission – Please submit new applications using the e-Planning portal. (Hard copy applications posted to the Central Validation Team will still be accepted but may take longer to process). Correspondence relating to invalid applications should be issued by e-mail to email@example.com
- Pre-application Advice – general advice is available online; where input from planning officers is required then enquiries should be submit using the online form (this is a chargeable service)
- Submission of Casework Related Documentation – submission of documentation relating to casework (supporting information, amended plans, consultation input, details pursuant to conditions etc.) should be submitted by e-mail to the relevant area office e-mail address (see above). (Documentation submitted by post or issued direct to case officers will still be accepted but may take longer to process).
- Report an unauthorised development – please use the Planning Enforcement online form, or telephone 01546 605518
It is requested that anyone submitting documents/applications does so either via the Scottish Government ePlanning Portal or electronically to the appropriate area office detailed below:
- Bute and Cowal Area Office – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Helensburgh and Lomond Area Office – email@example.com
- Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands Area Office – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Oban, Lorn and the Isles Area Office – email@example.com
Planning Application and Enforcement Site Visits:
The Development Management Service has introduced a new risk assessment to identify applications that are capable of being determined without a physical site visit, this may in some cases be dependent upon provision of additional information by the applicant/agent to support the assessment process. Customers will be contacted where it has been identified that a physical site visit is necessary but is not possible within the statutory determination period to advise them of the expected delay and to seek to agree an extended time period for determination of the application.
Planning (Development Management) officers have implemented a phased resumption of site visit activity. This involves the introduction of new safe systems of work that are intended to protect the safety of officers, customers and other members of the public they come into contact with as they undertake their duties across Argyll and Bute. The phased resumption of site visit activity will continue to be reviewed against the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Route Map.
Stage 1 (commenced w/c 29th June) Resumption of unaccompanied site visits which can be completed wholly from a safe publicly accessible space, or safe unaccompanied access to open, unoccupied private land. **Visits to remote/island locations may not be possible initially during Stage 1 due to ferry timetable/welfare issues arising from closure of public toilets/Council offices and tourist facilities**
Stage 2 (commenced w/c 27th July) Resumption of accompanied site visits to commercial premises where social distancing/appropriate control measures are in place, and to external areas of domestic premises where no access to interior of the property is required. Wherever possible, site visits shall be subject to a pre-visit telephone survey to establish whether any persons at the property have Covid-19 symptoms or are shielding/isolating, and to confirm that appropriate social distancing/control measures are in place.
Stage 3 (commencement date tbc) Reinstatement of full services.
Deemed Extension to Planning Permission, Planning Permission in Principle, and Listed Building Consent:
It is advised that the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020, the Coronvirus (Scotland)(No.2) Act 2020, and the Town and Country Planning (Emergency Period and Extended Period)(Coronavirus)(Scotland) Regulations 2020 make provisions for a deemed extension to the implementation period for a range of permissions that have, or will expire, during a defined ‘emergency period’. Details of the affected permission types, the qualifying dates (or ‘emergency period’), and expiry of any deemed ‘extended period’ during which the permission will remain live are set out in the table below. It is noted for information that the range of permissions covered, the ‘emergency period’ and the ‘extended period’ are matters defined in law by the Scottish Parliament and as such are not issues which are open to any discretion in their interpretation by the Council as Planning Authority.
Original Expiry Date Between:
Expiry Date Extended To:
Planning Permission granted under s58 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) 1997 as amended
Between 6th April 2020 and 30th September 2021 (inclusive)
31st March 2022
Planning Permission in Principle granted under s59 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act as amended
Between 6th April 2020 and 30th September 2021 (inclusive)
31st March 2022
Listed Building Consent granted under s16 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas)(Scotland) Act 1997 as amended
Between 26th May 2020 and 30th September 2021
31st March 2022