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Newsletter 29 October 2020: New computer system will mean planning application processing delays

We’ve often received comments from residents and agents that our planning application website is not easy to use or navigate making it difficult to find information.

That is one of the reasons we are installing new software which should significantly improve the service we provide for you.

This means that for around three weeks from mid-November until early-December:

  • You will not be able to search for and view new applications submitted during the change-over period
  • Planning applications received will be processed manually
  • Planning staff will be processing prior approval applications as a priority so that the legal timescales are met
  • Weekly lists of validated planning applications may not be available
  • We ask you to have patience with us during this period when we will be processing applications as quickly as we can.

If you have urgent questions please contact the Planning Officer for your application.  Please remember such questions will further delay the processing of planning applications.

From early December we will be adding the backlog of applications and transferring historical data on to the new computer system with the aim of the new system being fully operational by the end of the year

The Government has introduced a fast track deemed consent route for developers to apply to vary the hours of construction. The purpose is to enable developers to make up for the lost time and get their projects back on track. The Government has advised that extension of working hours until 9pm should not be refused without very compelling reasons. In some cases, 24hr working may be appropriate. For example, areas not close to homes. The relaxation of hours will apply until 1 April 2021, unless an earlier date is agreed. The Council has 14 days to respond, otherwise deemed consent is given. For this reason, the Council will be unable to carry out a public consultation. However, applicants are encouraged to provide details of mitigation plans and proposals to liaise with neighbours. Further guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The Council’s responsibilities under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to investigate complaints about impacts, including noise, vibration, odour, dust, or light which could constitute a statutory nuisance remains in place. 

Applications should be submitted to planningvalidation@walthamforest.gov.uk

Most applications must be implemented within three years of the consent, otherwise they expire. To deal with situations where developers have been unable to implement consents because of Covid-19 the Government has implemented measures to automatically extend the life of applications which have lapsed or will lapse between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020. 

Applications which will lapse between 19 August 2020 and 31 December 2020 will automatically be extended to 1 May 2021.

Applications that lapsed between 23 March 2020 and 19 August 2020 can be reinstated and extended to 1 May 2021, subject to applying for an Additional Environmental Approval from the Council. Applications should be submitted to planningvalidation@walthamforest.gov.uk

Further guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website