Letter from Chief Planner, Steve Quartermain CBE (March 2020)

“Planning is a wonderful profession and we have great people doing a great job. Be practical, be pragmatic and let's plan for the recovery”

In what was expected to be his last letter, Steve Quartermain CBE, has provided some usual updates but also important information on the COVID-19 position.

The key points of his letter include:
  • Decision Making - The Government has confirmed that it will introduce legislation to allow council committee meetings to be held virtually for a temporary period, which we expect will allow planning committees to continue
  • Planning Enforcement - A Written Ministerial Statement urges local planning authorities to apply pragmatism to the enforcement of restrictions on food and other essential deliveries at this time and should also use their discretion on the enforcement of other planning conditions which hinder the effective response to COVID-19.
  • Permitted Development - The government has made clear that all pubs, restaurants and cafes should no longer be open for on-site consumption but can remain open to provide a takeaway service and that this right will be enshrined in legislation with a permitted development right (PDR) coming into force at 10am on Tuesday 24 March for a 12 month period.
  • Planning Inspectorate - In response to the spread of COVID-19, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has published guidance on how it will continue to carry out its duties. While some site visits, hearings, inquiries and events will have to be cancelled or postponed, PINS is considering alternative arrangements where possible. PINS will keep its guidance
  • Neighbourhood Planning Referendums - The Coronavirus Bill, introduced into Parliament on 19 March, contains provisions to enable the postponement of electoral events, including neighbourhood planning referendums, over the course of the year.
Read the letter in full here. 
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Wednesday, 10 August 2022

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