Coronavirus: planning service updates

Due to the latest Government advice regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have made the following changes to the planning system:

  • Site visits have been reintroduced where is it safe to do so.

  • We will not be accepting any new Platinum or Gold pre-application enquiries (which require a site visit).
  • It will not be possible for the public to collect hard-copy Land Charge Searches.
  • It will not be possible for officers to access post sent to the Civic Centre. 

Site visits

We are reviewing the way in which we can continue to assess proposals and would request all applications and pre-application enquiries are accompanied by site photographs which show the proposed development in context (i.e. in relation to the building/site to which it relates and also in relation to any neighbouring property). Should the officer require additional photographs, these will be requested during the course of the application/enquiry. See applicant guide to site photographs.

Planning committees

The government has introduced emergency legislation to allow planning committees to take place virtually using video conferencing. Members of the public can watch the meetings on our webcast portal. Details of the next planning and planning sub-committee meetings can be found on our committees calendar

Construction working hours

On 13 May 2020, the government published a written ministerial statement on construction working hours. This statement expects local planning authorities to approve requests to extend construction working hours temporarily to ensure safe working in line with social distancing guidelines until 9pm, Monday to Saturday, unless there are very compelling reasons against this.

The normal working hours based on best practice and the Considerate Contractors Scheme are 8am-6pm Monday to Friday and 8am-1pm on Saturdays with no work on Sundays or Bank Holidays.

Where there is no condition attached to the permission to control construction working hours, no formal permission is required from the Council.  The informative attached to the planning permission sets out guidelines for working hours based on best practice and the Considerate Contractors Scheme.  You are advised to avoid any works which may be audible beyond the site boundary outside the hours of 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays in order to minimise disruption to neighbours.  We would also encourage you to advise local residents, where possible, about additional working hours.

If you wish to amend your conditioned construction working hours, email tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk

We will be able to tell you whether we are happy to agree amended working hours informally, or whether you need to submit a formal application, as well as through which route. Where there are modest or short-term changes to construction working hours, we hope to be able to agree them informally, and we will use our discretion to avoid enforcing against a breach of working hours. Where long or more significant changes to working hours are required, we may request a formal application. In doing so, it will be important for you to consider potential impacts and, where necessary, to put forward plans to manage concerns, drawing on existing good practice.

  • We will be supportive of reasonable requests.
  • We will accept proposals for extended working hours unless there are very strong reasons against this.
  • We will ensure that decisions are issued within 10 days where possible. 
  • In making our decision, we may consider there are unreasonable impacts, but we will reject proposals only where there are very compelling reasons. These reasons could include the significant impact on neighbouring businesses or uses, such as care homes, which are particularly sensitive to noise, dust or vibration, which cannot be overcome through other mitigation, or where impacts on densely populated areas would be unreasonable.
  • We will consider the fact that more people are spending more time at home, including working from home. We will balance their reasonable expectations for the acoustic environment in their home against the desire to ensure that necessary construction work can continue.
  • We may ask you to do noise or other monitoring to demonstrate that the impact of the extended hours on neighbours is not unreasonable.
  • Provisions under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 can be used by the Environmental Protection team if noise or other nuisances from building works are considered to be causing material interference with the use or enjoyment of neighbouring properties. This could include restricting hours of work.

For further advice please contact tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk

To see the latest information and advice, please see our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

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