Planning exemptions for minor work are being progressed "as a matter of priority", the D&PA has pledged, as the authority looks to cut down average waiting times of up to 13 weeks.
By the time the island came out of its first lockdown last summer, planning application response times had lengthened to around 16 weeks. Waiting times have since improved to between eight and 13 weeks on average, prior to last week's lockdown.
That owes largely to new measures that were introduced last year, as the Development & Planning Authority used a 'fast track' procedure to make decisions on simpler planning applications within four to five weeks, freeing up officer time to concentrate on more complex applications.
Following its latest meeting, the quasi-judicial political body has debated proposals to "significantly expand" the current exemptions.
"This will mean that fewer works will require a planning application and will enable our efforts to be concentrated where they will be most effective," said D&PA President Victoria Oliver.
Pictured: People no longer have to go to Sir Charles Frossard to view planning applications, which are now being published online.
"The Committee and officers are progressing the work on the exemptions as a priority. Work is also progressing at pace with our partner Agilisys on digitising the planning and building control application process, which will enable applications to be made and publicised online and eliminate many current paper-based processes.
D&PA Vice-President Deputy Andy Taylor suggested that the current lockdown "will not affect the processing of planning and building control applications to a significant degree" because of ways that services have been adapted in the last 12 months.
“Compared with the situation in March last year, planning applications are now publicised online rather than people having to view paper plans at Sir Charles Frossard House as was previously the case," he said.
"Officers have also built up considerable experience of working remotely and many planning applications are being fast tracked. Only site inspections and site visits are currently unable to take place, which is entirely understandable in the circumstances.”
Pictured: Many planning applications are now being fast tracked, according to D&PA Vice-President Andy Taylor.
Deputy Oliver concluded that the D&PA must facilitate economic growth rather than allowing bureaucratic procedures to stand in the way of it.
“The D&PA has been working hard and has the tools at its disposal to strongly and positively support economic growth and the interests of our wider community at this challenging time and well into the future.
"The Committee looks forward to working closely with all our political colleagues over the coming months to ensure that these opportunities are fully realised expeditiously and effectively.”
Pictured top: Development & Planning Authority President Victoria Oliver.
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