Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the County Council’s Planning Service
Updated: 26 August 2020
We have had to adapt some of our processes and procedures to maintain the safety of our team and our customers during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Our offices are now closed to the public, with majority of staff working remotely who have access to emails, telephones and electronic filing systems.
Statement of Community Involvement
The Worcestershire Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) sets out how we will involve you in the planning process. We have reviewed and updated our SCI in light of COVID-19 to ensure that plan-making and public consultation can continue in an effective way. These temporary changes are set out in the Statement of Community Involvement 2020 update (opens in a new window).
Whilst we have made arrangements for letters and paper planning applications that have been sent to the Council via the postal service to be distributed to the appropriate officer, the post is collected periodically, and there may be a delay in responding to letters/registering paper planning applications. In particular a number of letters of representation have been received from members of the public commenting on major applications, such as the Lea Castle Farm proposed quarry (Application Reference: 19/000053/CM). We can confirm the Council will be acknowledging all the comments received on this and other applications in due course, but please bear with us during this period.
Where possible, we would encourage all correspondence with the County Council’s Planning Team via email: DevControlTeam@worcestershire.gov.uk or telephone (01905 763763). To enable the remote processing of planning applications, we are encouraging planning applications to be made online at: Make an application.
Should you wish to comment on a planning application you can do so online at: Planning applications.
On 14 May 2020 the Government introduced a range of temporary measures to make it easier to operate the planning system within the current public health guidelines. This includes giving local planning authorities the flexibility to take other reasonable steps to publicise planning applications if they cannot discharge the specific requirements for site notices, neighbour notification, newspaper publicity (where relevant) and for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) development making copies of the documents available for physical inspection.
Where Worcestershire County Council cannot discharge the specific requirements above, because it is not reasonably practicable for reasons connected to the effects of coronavirus, notification will be posted on the Council’s social media accounts, such as Facebook (opens in a new window), Twitter (opens in a new window), Instagram (opens in a new window) and LinkedIn (opens in a new window). Furthermore, public notices associated with current planning application consultations are also being made available to view on the Council’s Public Notices Directory (opens in a new window).
All planning applications made to Worcestershire County Council are available to view online at: Planning applications.
Minerals Local Plan
Public hearing sessions as part of the examination of the Publication Version of the Worcestershire Minerals Local Plan were due to be held at County Hall on 5 May - 7 May 2020 (and also on 2 June – 4 June 2020, if required). These hearings have been postponed.
At this stage it is not possible to be certain when the hearings might be rescheduled, but this is unlikely to be before late summer or autumn 2020. Once new dates have been arranged, the emerging Minerals Local Plan examination page and the Programme Officer’s website (opens in a new window) will be updated, and participants will be notified by the Programme Officer.
Local Nature Partnership
The Worcestershire Local Nature Partnership (LNP) comprises senior representatives from the public, private and third sectors, including professional environmental and land managers. Its broad membership provides the LNP with expertise in developing strategies, planning projects, securing funding and delivering successful outcomes on the ground.