During the current coronavirus outbreak the Isle of Wight Council is reviewing all its services to ensure that users and staff are kept safe and able to observe social distancing, which has resulted in some changes to planning services.
The planning service is still operational, in light of the Government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. As a part of this the planning office at Seaclose is now closed and all staff are working remotely.
No site visits are being undertaken although meetings and discussions are continuing over the telephone or online.
The exception is allegations of unlawful activity involving protected trees and heritage assets, where the council will continue to be active in protecting these important features of our Island.
All new applications and enquiries must be submitted electronically. Applications received by post cannot be processed whilst lockdown restrictions are in place.
New applications will be made available online in the usual way. However, the formal public consultation period for these applications will not begin until Government guidance on non-essential movement changes, which will mean that site notices can be put up and site visits undertaken.
At that time planning applications will also be advertised as usual in the local press – including Island Echo.
This means that there will inevitably be a delay to determining applications.
The Isle of Wight Council is also mindful that the public and local towns and parishes need to have an opportunity to see and comment on applications in the normal way. The way in which the Planning Committee can meet and take decisions is under review; and the council will be looking carefully at the new guidance and legislation that is expected shortly.
A full list of changes to the planning service is available here, and may be subject to updates at any time: https://www.iow.gov.uk/planning/.