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Revised Planning Application procedures necessary to support home working in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis

Given the current Coronavirus crisis Adur & Worthing Councils are reviewing how best to maintain essential services and support the vulnerable members of our community.

We recognise the importance of supporting our local economy and therefore we will continue to deliver our Planning Service as best we can but this will have to be kept under constant review.

We have worked hard over the last week to ensure that the Development Management team can work remotely but this will require some changes to our normal working practices. The most significant change is that from today we will not accept paper copies of planning applications or related correspondence.

New applications should be ideally submitted ONLINE via the Planning Portal link on our submit a planning application page.

As we are working remotely we also cannot accept electronic payments over the phone and therefore all application fees will need to be submitted via the planning portal for the time being.

Once the application has been validated if you do need to submit amended plans or supporting information you can email quoting your file reference and case officer name.

Moving to a fully digital service will also mean that we will no longer be able to process or publish letters of representation as there is a need to redact letters to remove sensitive data to meet Data Protection requirements and this process cannot be undertaken remotely at the present time. Letters will still be available to Officers to view and will be considered as part of the normal planning process.

During this lockdown period we will avoid any site inspections in response to Government advice and to reduce the risk to our staff and the local community. We would urge applicants and agents to assist by sending supporting site photographs to assist the determination of the application. It may be necessary to delay determination of planning applications to enable site visits to be undertaken when circumstances permit and the current Government restrictions have been relaxed. We will keep this situation under review.

The weekly list, site notices and the website will be updated to reflect this advice. We are encouraging all customers to submit comments via the online comment facility or electronically as this is the most efficient way of making comments and for us to process the information.

If you require any advice on your application please contact the Case Officer by phone or email in the normal way.

The reception area at Portland House, in Worthing, is not open for general enquiries and is currently only seeing customers with urgent needs.

I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause you and we will continue to review current procedures and Government advice in the coming days and weeks.

James Appleton
Head of Planning and Development

25th March 2020

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