COVID-19: Planning and building

We're trying hard to keep the planning service operating effectively in the face of unprecedented challenges. We're continuing to respond and bring forward different ways of working as quickly as possible.

If you've recently submitted a planning application, you'll receive an acknowledgement letter within 10 working days of the application being logged on our system. If you have not received a letter email: planning.enquiries@york.gov.uk.

See further planning and building information:

To talk about an existing application contact your planning officer directly by email.

See further details about changes to our planning services during coronavirus:


New applications

The best way to submit new applications electronically is via the Planning Portal. Electronic applications are easy to review and validate. Paper copies can still be submitted, but there may be a delay in processing times

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Contacting planning officers

There's no planning officer presence in our offices. Officers are enabled for home working and are therefore contactable from home by emailing them directly or by emailing: planning.enquries@york.gov.uk.

As officers are working from home, there may be some additional background noise in some instances.

If matters can't be resolved by email or phone call, it may be necessary to agree an extension of time to an application.

Our normal practice remains whereby officers can't enter into email correspondence with third parties.

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Virtual meetings

Virtual meetings are available on most virtual platforms, please contact the case officer to discuss setting up a meeting.

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Determining planning applications and site visits

We're still able to determine most planning applications.

Site visits are being undertaken with strict social distancing in place. Officers will contact applicants or their agent when a site visit is required and will set out the procedures to be followed.

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Application processing time frames

We'll endeavor to keep applications running to time. However in the event that there are delays we will discuss this with the applicants/agents involved in the application process.

Furthermore, despite our best efforts to keep our staff safe and working at home, there is a risk that we might experience increased levels of sickness. Therefore, we'll be asking applicants and agents for extensions of time on applications where necessary.

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Appeals based on time frames

In an environment where applications may not be determined within agreed or statutory time periods, we must be mindful of deadlines for making non-determination appeals to the Planning Inspectorate.

If an extension of time is not agreed for whatever reason, and the deadline to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate (which remain unchanged despite the lockdown) is about to expire, developers could appeal for non-determination in order to keep their application live.

The Planning Inspectorate have updated their 'how to appeal a planning decision' guidance to reflect their current procedures. This currently includes not accepting paper copies of appeals.

It is hoped that developers will be proactive and agree extensions of time in writing with the council.

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Commenting on a planning application

If you have no access to email or the internet, the best way to send us your comments is to ask a relative or friend to email us your comments to planning.comments@york.gov.uk, or to submit comments on Public Access. You can also call 01904 551553 to discuss or arrange a viewing of planning application documents, including, when appropriate, access to hard copies subject to COVID-19 measures and public health advice.

Planning officers take comments into account, as long as they are material planning considerations, regardless of the sender.

Whilst comments by post can still be submitted, there's likely to be a delay with the planning service dealing with these comments due to limited access to our office. There's therefore a risk that last minute comments by post might not be taken into account.

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We continue to advertise planning applications in the normal manner.

Adjoining neighbouring properties to an application site will receive a notification letter from us advising them of the application and how the details can be viewed, and inviting any comments.

Where there is a requirement for a site notice to be posted, these are being posted by an Officer who is observing social distancing measures with each visit risk assessed prior to being undertaken.

Where required, Public Notices are still being published in the York Press.

Planning applications are also available to view online via Public Access.

Owing to changes that we've had to make to how we print and mail our neighbour notification letters, and possible delays in the postal network, we've temporarily extended our standard consultation periods from 21 days to 28 days so as not to unduly disadvantage any parties that wish to participate in the planning process. Internal systems have been adjusted to accommodate this change. These changes exceed the minimum legal requirement of legislation. An insert letter also accompanies each neighbour notification letter to advise notified parties of service changes during the coronavirus outbreak.

Public Access also has tools to allow users to perform searches by address, ward area and date ranges. A list of the applications that have been validated each week can also be generated.

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Planning committees

Planning Committees are now taking place in person, dates for meetings are available online.

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Prior notification requests

The government has recognised that there may be circumstances where a local planning authority is unable to consider permitted development prior approvals within the deemed consent period.

We'll continue to prioritise these requests, but there may be exceptional circumstances which require us to discuss an extended approval date with the applicant.

The government has indicated that ‘where agreement cannot be reached, an authority may need to consider whether prior approval is refused if the application cannot be considered with the requisite attention’.

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Pre-application advice

The pre-application advice service continues to function.

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Copies of information and documents

Requests for hard copies of documents will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If copies are required, please call telephone: 01904 552533, or the case officer to discuss.

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Planning history information and other discretionary services

We'll only be able to provide discretionary services that can be completed electronically. Therefore any requests received which cannot be dealt with in full will be put on hold, the enquirer notified of this and the enquiry completed as soon as possible.

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Planning Enforcement

We may not be fully investigating matters where significant harm cannot be demonstrated.

The Planning Enforcement Team will make an initial investigation of the complaint. Details of how the team prioritise can be found here.

Complainants will be advised of any significant action or developments relating to the case as and when they arise, or if the case is closed.

We'll also take a pragmatic approach to some developments which are undertaken purely to cope with the impact of coronavirus.

We'll inform you of our intended course of action when triaging a complaint.

The planning enforcement team can be contacted by email: planning.enforcement@york.gov.uk.

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Building Control

Site inspection requests should still be made at statutory stages. These will be recorded for reference against any project. Attendance will be risk assessed against the type of inspection and latest government guidance on coronavirus

We're also still maintaining our normal call out facility for dangerous structures.

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Design, Conservation and Sustainable Development

The Design, Conservation and Sustainable Development (DCSD) service includes:

  • landscape issues
  • protected trees
  • protected hedgerows
  • nature conservation

We'll actively promote more extensive provision of digital material to assist us in our assessments and use existing online tools and centres of research. We hope to be able to continue to advise fully but where this is not possible due to the circumstances, there will be instances where decisions will need to be delayed or deferred.

Due regard has been given to the equalities impact of the above noted temporary changes, which are considered to be justified in these exceptional circumstances.

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Also see

Planning Enquiries

DM Business Support, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Telephone: 01904 551553