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Planning Customer Service Standards

Introduction

We are committed to giving our customers the best standard of service we can. We will not always be able to tell you what you want to hear, but we will always try to do so in a polite, helpful, accurate and timely manner.

We cannot give informal advice on the spot and we do not have any form of Duty Officer System. Instead we ask for queries to be submitted in writing, ideally using the forms available on our website. A set fee is applied to many of these queries full details of which are again available on the website.

We have a series of timescale standards, set out below, for the provision of our services. These are based upon either national/government benchmarks, guidelines in the New Forest District Council Charter Standards or specific targets agreed with Members.

The questions we are most frequently asked and the responses we give are available here.

Planning applications

We aim to register all new planning applications within three working days of receiving all the relevant information. If additional information is required we will, whenever possible, request it by phone or email rather than return the application in the post.

We aim to :

  • determine 65% of all major planning applications within 13 weeks - (unless a formal extension of time is agreed with the applicants).
  • determine 60% of all minor planning applications within 8 weeks - (unless a formal extension of time is agreed with the applicants). 
  • determine 80% of all other planning applications within 8 weeks - (unless a formal extension of time is agreed with the applicants).
  • Determine all applications within 26 weeks.

We aim to produce Initial Briefing Notes on all applications, which are available on the website as are copies of all correspondence received, within 10 working days of the receipt of the application.

We normally issue the decision notices on all planning applications within 2 working days of the decision being made.

Please note that with the need to meet government performance standards and the availability of information on our website we do not contact applicants during the application process and are generally unable to accept amendments once an application is registered. We therefore strongly encourage pre application negotiations for which specific forms are available.

Planning appeals

We aim to ensure that no more than 35% of all planning and related appeals that are lodged against New Forest District Council are allowed. Full details of appeals received are available on the website.

Correspondence

We aim to reply to most enquiries as to whether an application would be supported within 20 working days although those dealing with the most major proposals will take longer.

We aim to reply to most enquiries as to whether permission is required for any proposed works or change of use within 21 days. Such enquiries have to be submitted as a formal application.

Environmental Information Requests are normally processed within 10 working days.

Other, general, letters and emails are normally responded to within 7 working days or 10 working days when complex issues are raised.

Telephone Enquiries

We aim to deal with all telephone enquiries as quickly as possible. If the Officer you wish to speak to is not available they will try to get back to you on the same day, but if not they will normally ring you back the following working day. If a particular staff member is on holiday, sick or otherwise not available, another member of their Team will do their best to assist you.

All telephones in the office will be answered during normal working hours and you should receive a polite and informative greeting.

Whilst we can provide an answer on tree matters, we encourage callers requiring information on whether a tree is protected, or whether proposed works would be likely to be acceptable to contact the New Forest National Park Authority who deal with such matters on our behalf.

Please note that we cannot give a response over the telephone to questions about the need for planning permission or the likelihood of getting planning permission for a specific property.

Enforcement Complaints

Our main aim is to investigate and give a preliminary view about breaches of planning control within 15 working days of the receipt of the complaint.

A full resolution of the issue will often take longer but we will keep you up-to-date with the progress we are making. Other enforcement performance standards apply which are set out in our Local Enforcement Plan which is viewable on our website.

Complaints as to the level of service given

Whilst we will always do our best to achieve the standards set out above and to follow the procedures we have explained, there will inevitably be occasions where customers feel they have not received the standard of service to which they were entitled.

The Council has an adopted complaints procedure and a full explanation can be obtained on this website. The first stage is to write to the manager of the relevant service.

For all aspects of Development Control work this is:

David Groom
Development Control Manager
Planning & Transportation
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
Lyndhurst
SO43 7PA

For issues regarding Urban Design and Landscape Design contact

Richard Payne
Design Team Leader
Planning & Transportation
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
Lyndhurst
SO43 7PA

And for Planning Policy Issues

Louise Evans
Planning Policy Manager
Planning & Transportation
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
Lyndhurst
SO43 7PA

They will acknowledge your complaint and investigate the matter. You should be sent a reply within 20 working days which will tell you who you can appeal to if you are not satisfied with the answer.
Please note initial complaints tend to be addressed by the Team Leader

Updated: 8 Nov 2016
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