Customer Update – Help us to help you

We are continuing to experience a record level of applications since our last Customer Update a few weeks ago. Whilst this is positive for the City, it is a particularly challenging time for the service as it is coinciding with reduced resources.

To manage the workload effectively, a new system has been put in place where new applications are being put in a holding system until a case officer becomes available. This approach will ensure that workloads are manageable for case officers.

We will be dealing with applications in chronological order and once assigned, the case officer will only contact you if:

1) additional information is required to assess the application;

2) amendments are needed to your proposals; or

3) your application is likely to be refused.

We remain committed to providing good customer care for each application but inevitably, it is going to take longer than normal to process applications. Because we are concentrating on determining applications as quickly as possible, there will be an impact on other aspects of our work such as responding to queries.

Help us to help you:

It would help significantly if you could provide the following information at the time of application submission (or whilst it is hold):

  • Photographs showing the location of the work and the wider context (including interiors for listed building consent applications)
  • Dimensions on the plans
  • Contextual information i.e. neighbouring windows/ extensions (if relevant)
  • 45 degree daylighting calculations (if relevant)

Before applying please read our planning guidelines – these answer a lot of commonly asked questions, including for;

Your patience and understanding is appreciated. We will get there but it is going to take longer.

The Planning and Building Standards helpdesk service is changing

On 3 December 2015 the Planning Committee approved a new Customer Service Charter for Planning and Building Standards.   This sets out the level of service you should expect from us and out how we will handle general enquiries.

As part of this, from Monday 14 December 2015, the helpdesk service we provide will change with the new opening times of 9:00am – 1:00pm Monday to Friday.

Our general reception area will still be open from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday, if you want to come in to view plans using the PC terminals, submit applications or a comment on an application.  The helpdesk will be closed over the Christmas and New Year period, reopening on 5 January 2016.

Planning and Building Standards reception
Planning and Building Standards reception

We’re making these changes for a number of reasons including the Council’s ‘channel shift’ process which encourages the greater use of online information and transactions.  Making this change also gives planning and building standards officers more time to deal with applications.

Save time. Do it online

To support this change there are already a number of ways you can get planning and building standards information.  This includes:

More improvements to come

Right now we’re working to improve our online information, making it easier for you to get the advice and guidance you need.  This will include using more online maps for mobile devices, improving public access (the planning portal) by improving its functionality and making it work better on mobile devices.

Next year we’ll also see the launch of the new single landing page where users can access ePlanning and eBuilding Standards for the submission of applications.