Local authorities in England have been handed new powers to hold public meetings virtually by using video or telephone conferencing technology from Saturday 4th April 2020.
The government has temporarily removed the legal requirement for local authorities to hold public meetings in person during the coronavirus pandemic. This will enable councils to make effective and transparent decisions on the delivery of services for residents and ensure that local democracy continues to thrive.
Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said “Local authorities are the backbone of our democracy… it’s critical that they continue to provide essential services and find innovative ways to maintain important economic functions they perform like the planning system and they will now be able to do so”.
Meetings will remain accessible whilst ensuring that councillors, staff and the wider public can follow government advice by staying at home to stop the spread of coronavirus to protect the NHS and save lives. However, it will be up to each local authority to decide how they conduct meetings, how voting procedures work and how to ensure that the public has access.
The GFW team is continuing to work with Local Planning Authorities during this difficult time to progress our clients’ planning applications where possible. If you have a property, land or a development opportunity you would like to discuss with our Planning, Architecture and Development team please contact your nearest regional office:
Northumberland: 01665 603231
County Durham: 01388 527966
Yorkshire: 01677 425301
As part of the preparation for Local Plans, Northumberland County Council and South Tyneside Council have both issued a ‘Call for Sites’.
The new Local Plan for each local authority will allocate sites for development; these need to be suitable, available, and in the right locations to meet the long-term growth strategy of each council.
The councils are requesting anyone with development aspirations for the next 15-20 years to submit details of their land or property for consideration as potential development sites for:
- Retail; and
- Leisure uses.
“This is an ideal opportunity for landowners to seek professional and informed advice about their assets and the future development potential of their land, specifically sites around towns and villages,” said Stephanie Linnell, Associate Planning Consultant at George F. White. “We have a wide range of experience providing specialist advice on planning (policy and applications), site appraisals, development promotion and valuations, as well as resolving enforcement issues. Essentially, we always seek to find a solution and we are working with clients now on the opportunity this call presents.”
Please be aware that South Tyneside Council ‘Call for Sites’ closes on Friday 9 March 2018, and Northumberland County Council’s applications close on Monday 12 March 2018, therefore any formal responses need to be submitted by this date.
“The planning system can be very complicated but when navigated successfully it can be a tool to significantly raise the value of land and property in a variety of ways,” added Stephanie. “From successfully having your site allocated in the Local Plan to gaining planning consent and then selling it to a developer to deliver the new homes. Whatever the situation, George F. White is able to investigate the options and provide advice on the best route to achieve our client’s aims and help them maximise value of their assets.”
If you have a site which you think may be suitable and would like an initial assessment, for free, please contact Stephanie Linnell at George F. White on email@example.com or 01665 511990.