Cannock Chase Council has trialled its first remote Planning Control Committee meeting with 15 members dialing in to make planning decisions during COVID-19.
The national planning system is experiencing extreme disruption as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, but Cannock Chase Council is continuing to operate its service and continue to make decisions.
It is important that the Council continues to provide the best service possible in these stretching times and prioritise decision-making to ensure the planning system continues to function especially where this will support the local economy.
Today’s Planning Control Committee went ahead remotely using telephone conferencing. Fifteen Planning Control Committee members, some of which are over 70 and self isolating called into make planning decisions, chaired by Councillor Sheila Cartwright.
The Committee approved in accordance with officer recommendation, the development of a 3G Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) at Rugeley Leisure Centre. This includes fencing, floodlights, a storage container, access pathways and a floodlit car park extension.
The Committee refused unanimously the planning application for the construction of two new four bedroomed dwellings on Rawnsley Road.
Councillor Sheila Cartwright, Planning Control Committee Chairman said, “The remote meeting was very successful, we’re aiming to continue operating the Council’s Planning Service as best we can as well as adhering to the Government’s social distancing advice and guidance. This may undoubtedly change over time, but with the use of digital technology the Council will adapt and continue to operate this service.
“Your local planning service shapes new development and the use of land across the District with the aim of achieving positive outcomes for people, the economy and the environment. By continuing to operate during these uncertain times, the service with remain a key role in helping to make the District attractive, vibrant and well-designed whilst ensuring the recovery of the economy is not held up by the planning system.”
The Council’s planning team is continuing to work from home and processing applications, site visits, planning consultations by moving to as far as possible an electronic means of handling planning applications. As such they are requesting that all future applications are submitted electronically via the Planning Portal and that people who wish to make comments to particular application should do so via the Council’s Planning website. All live planning applications are available for inspections on the Council’s website.
In addition, the Council’s planning team will also be embedding changes in legislation in relation to Permitted Development Rights (PDR) for pubs, restaurants and cafes. The Government has made it clear pubs, restaurants and cafes should no longer be open for on-site consumption but can remain open to provide a takeaway service.
To support pubs and restaurants and ensure access to food during the emergency period, the new national PDR will enable pubs, restaurants and cafes to operate temporarily as hot food takeaways. To give greater flexibility, the PDR will also cover cold and pre prepared food and will allow for takeaway delivery. The Council’s planning team will be supporting local businesses where possible.
To find out more about the Council’s Planning Service, visit www.cannockchasedc.gov.uk/planning