RDC has announced the following at its website here: https://www.richmondshire.gov.uk/planning-and-climate-change/planning-permission/contact-with-planning-officers/
Changes have been made to the way in which we operate our planning service. This has been brought on by acute pressure on the service as a result of exceptionally high workloads.
From 13 September 2021 the following measures will be introduced:
- the duty service will be restricted to cover emergency cases such as Tree Preservation Orders and Listed Buildings. Help and information can be found on our protected trees page and listed buildings page. Queries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- the pre-application service will be suspended with customers directed to alternative resources. Advice can also be sought from private planning consultants
- charges will be made for informal search requests including copies of s106 agreements
The measures will free up officer time to allow them to concentrate on case work that has been validated and requires a formal decision to be made.
The pressure has been caused by several factors:
- there has been a noticeable rise in the number of planning applications coming in despite the lockdown period
- as well as a backlog of cases awaiting determination where further information is needed
- we also have several vacant posts within the team and recruitment of replacement staff is proving difficult as there is a national shortage of qualified planning officers
All the measures will be kept under review and will be reassessed in the new year/ in six months.