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Council Plan for Simpler Applications

8 March 2022

Male hands wearing a gold wedding band with a blue suit and white shirt, use a ruler and mechanical pencil to draw a line on a detailed architect's plan

West Devon Borough Council's Hub Committee approved the adoption of a Local Validation Checklist and a Planning Charter that shows how the Council will improve performance and responsiveness for applicants involved within the Planning process.  

Part of the Corporate Strategy, 'A Plan for West Devon', the Council's recent Planning Improvement Plan, aims to improve the service and applicants' expectations.

A six-week public consultation held in September 2021, helped to inform the improvement plans, starting with a Local Validation List, which has been updated and will make the service much easier for applicants.

When applying for planning applications, the simple checklist will help applicants to find out easily which application forms, and supporting documents, they need to submit for the work they want to carry out and when they need to submit them. Simple!

This will make the service much faster and reduce delays when additional information has to be requested. It will also take some of the frustration out of the planning process and make sure that applications are accepted first time.

The checklist will also help the Planning team to gain information from applicants about how they are:

  • reducing their carbon footprint,
  • achieving a 10% biodiversity net gain,
  • ensuring better provision of open spaces, sport and recreation; and
  • protecting the countryside and heritage assets.

It will also go towards meeting the Council's goal for Climate Change and Biodiversity.

The Planning Team also want to promote their Pre-Application Advice Service, which provides applicants with complete confidence over which information they need to provide before they submit their applications.

Along with the Local Validation List, the newly approved Planning Charter sets out how the Planning Service will work with developers and the community on applications.

The Charter clearly sets out what users of the Planning Service can expect to receive with respect to customer service and timescales, but also what is at the heart of the Planning service.

As part of the Charter, they also ask for some pledges in return, such as; consideration of their staff, quality and sustainable designs and that policies and guidance have been followed by applicants.

The full charter will be available for public viewing from Friday 1 April.

Cllr Caroline Mott, Lead Member for Built Environment for West Devon Borough Council, said: "This is a really positive step to help make the planning process easier for our applicants. Anything we can do to make understanding the process simpler is good news. It can be a confusing process, especially for those who are applying for the first time, so the Local Validation List will really help.

"The Customer Charter is another way to improve our service. It is a two-way contract between our team and our customers to ensure the process is considerate, timely and everyone does their bit."

To read the Hub report, go to: www.westdevon.gov.uk/Hub

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