Wealden District Council
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Planning Services Updates

Planning Service Update

The Planning Service has brought forward new ways of working so our staff can work remotely with the intention of keeping our staff and residents safe.

Time limits for taking enforcement action

The LURA has amended Section 171B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 by deleting the words ‘four years’ and substituting this with ‘ten years’ (England). The effect of the change will mean that all breaches of planning control can only become immune from enforcement action after 10 years. This includes those breaches which were previously 4 years, such as the change of use of a building to residential use and operational development. The LPA will also no longer have to consider whether operational development is ‘part and parcel’ of a change of use (Murfitt principle) as all breaches of planning control will carry the 10 year immunity rule. The ability for this period to be extended in cases of concealment is unchanged

In simple terms, the four-year time limit for bringing enforcement action against building or engineering operations and changes of use to a single dwelling-house will be removed and a single 10-year time limit will apply to all breaches of planning controls.

‘Second-bite’ provisions and the law related to enforcement orders remain unchanged.

The ten year limit for bringing enforcement action will apply where alleged operational development was substantially completed on or after 25 April 2024, or where the date of an alleged change of use to a single dwellinghouse was on or after 25 April 2024.

Enforcement Warning Notices (EWA)

Local Planning Authorities can issue EWAs, inviting regularisation applications when it appears that a development has taken place in breach of planning control.

Issuing an EWA will constitute the taking of enforcement action, which is relevant to the ‘second-bite’ provisions.

Restriction on appeals against enforcement notices

Changes to when a ground (a) (an application for retrospective planning permission) will limit circumstances in which an appeal against an enforcement notice can be brought on ground (a).

This will apply in circumstances where an application for planning permission has already been made to regularise the breach

These amendments do not apply to appeals against enforcement notices that were issued, and have not been withdrawn, before 25 April 2024.

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is a proactive approach designed to ensure that new developments contribute positively to the natural environment.

This process involves planning and designing developments to minimise harm to existing habitats while compensating for and offsetting any unavoidable damage.

BNG aims to leave biodiversity in a measurably better state than before the development began, achieving tangible improvements through responsible practices.

Here’s why BNG is crucial:

  • Environmental Benefits: The natural environment provides essential benefits and supports life-sustaining processes.
  • Habitat Preservation: Development often leads to habitat loss or degradation. BNG addresses this by valuing, maintaining, enhancing, and creating wildlife habitats.
  • Measurable Improvements: BNG ensures measurable enhancements for biodiversity by creating or improving habitats in connection with new developments.

Visit the Biodiversity Net Gain pages to learn more. 

On 26th July 2023 Class BC will be introduced. This new permitted development right allows for temporary campsites on land for not more than 60 days in any calendar year and you must have no more than 50 pitches. 

You cannot create a temporary campsite under Class BC on a Scheduled Monument, Safety hazard zone, military explosives storage area, a SSSI, a listed building, or for siting of a caravan which is not designed or adapted for human habitation. 

Any caravan sites under Class BC must be a motorhome or campervan. Regular caravans are not permitted under Class BC. Tents of course are permitted under this permitted development right for temporary campsites.

The full legislation including the procedure on how to apply can be found on legislation.gov.uk

Service Update 7 February 2024: 

We are pleased to re-launch the pre-application service for Heritage. The limited service will be capped to no more than 4 applications per month on a first come first served basis. 

Pre-application advice is a valuable tool in the Development Management process and we offer a wide range of pre-application advice services.

Visit the pre-application advice pages for further information

Our Enforcement Strategy document sets out how we operate.

Enforcement site visits will only take place for the very highest priority cases where there is a risk to life or property and only where the council is satisfied that the risk to the public through the possible further transmission of COVID can be avoided.

For tree works, we will process casework where it is possible to do so without a physical visit. An example might be where a tree can be wholly seen from the public realm and is not close to a building (or adjacent land) necessitating visit to consider from that viewpoint. Where we issue a tree decision without a physical visit, the case assessment will fully explain why the specific circumstances justify this approach (UPDATE: 19th July 2021)

Should you have concerns over Coastal Works, Engineering and Tree Matters please contact the planning department, by e-mailing planning@wealden.gov.uk

The preferred method of submission is via the Planning Portal or by e-mail.

Please note cheques for application fees are not accepted and payment can be made on the Planning payments  web page.

We encourage all representations made for planning applications electronically through the council’s online application register of applications or by e-mail to planning@wealden.gov.uk.

This is the fastest and most efficient way to submit comments.

We have published a step by step guide for residents on how to most effectively comment on or object to planning applications.

The methods that the Council will use to publicise applications include the following:

  • Publishing applications and associated documents on the Council’s website;
  • Displaying one or more (as relevant) site notices near the application site. The site notice will provide details of the planning application, information on how the plans can be viewed and how comments can be made and when comments must be submitted by;
  • Advertising certain applications in local newspapers in accordance with statutory requirements.

Please see our page how we notify on Planning Applications

During COVID the government introduced legislation allowing the use of websites and social media to publicise applications. In light of that, where a planning application has been submitted the public will need to register against the application number using the function available on the online register. In addition to searching, viewing and commenting on planning applications, the system allows you to subscribe for email updates either when the status of the application changes or new documents are added to the website – please see the our pages on Keeping up to date with Planning Applications and How You Can Be Involved In The Planning Process.

Please note the Council will use these features to notify the public of changes or revisions to proposals. Registration is free although an active e-mail account is required.

Officers will need to consider whether amended plans require publicity and new amendments submitted in the current period of self-isolation may need publicity, and may therefore not be capable of being advanced to decision for the foreseeable future. 

Please liaise with your case officer or the relevant Area Team Leader by e-mailing planning@wealden.gov.uk.

Our twitter feed @WDC_Planning  provides news, updates and information from the Planning department, though please send all messages to planning@wealden.gov.uk.

For more information please visit our pages on Planning Committee South or Planning Committee North.

From 22nd July 2020 the Government have introduced new regulations making it possible to apply to defer a CIL payment subject to a number of criteria. For more information please see our page Paying for CIL and COVID-19

General enquiries should be made via emailing planning@wealden.gov.uk

Case officers will be available by email, and this is the preferred method of contact. Contact by phone is still available although staff are working flexible hours, and therefore we would ask that wherever possible you communicate with officers via e-mail. Officers will be able to phone you back, if required and contact details are provided.

Our twitter feed @WDC_Planning provides news, updates and information from the Planning department however this account is not always monitored.

We are committed to engaging with our residents and have created a community space on the Lets Talk platform. Visit the Planning Hub to learn more about how you can engage with us more.