The normal targets are 8 weeks for domestic and other minor applications and 13 weeks for more major applications. The D&PA have been acutely aware of the unacceptable delays and inconvenience caused to applicants as the waiting times have increased. All efforts have been made to rectify the position and the D&PA is very pleased to be able to announce the measures being put in place which will make a real difference.
The measures to be taken, which were agreed by the Committee at its meeting on 2nd September 2020, include a ‘fast track’ approach to domestic and other more minor applications which will see most decisions made in under 8 weeks, and some substantially less. Also proposed is a review of the planning exemptions with the aim of excluding many more works from the requirement for planning permission. In addition it is aimed to boost staff resources through recruitment to fill a planning officer vacancy, funded from within the D&PA’s existing budget allocation.
The fast tracking system has already commenced and applies only to householder and some other minor applications. This frees officer resources to concentrate on more substantial applications. Normal amenity safeguards for neighbours remain with statutory site notices erected and the ability to make representations.
The D&PA have also recommended further work which has not been able to be undertaken this year be taken forward by the next D&PA to extend the exemptions and fast track reasonable adaptations to property to improve accessibility and for renewable energy developments.
Director of Planning, Jim Rowles said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to progress with this package of measures which through the fast track approach is already starting to clear the backlog of applications which have built up in the post-lockdown period. It is imperative that planning delays are eliminated so far as possible and priority given to the more substantial development applications, so we can fulfil our key role in helping to bring development projects to site and thereby assist the economy and help Guernsey to build back better”.