Fast-track planning service to help businesses respond to Covid-19

Wealden District Council is launching a free fast-track planning service to help business adapt to fast-changing Covid-19 regulations.

The fast-track deal enables businesses to quickly make use of outdoor space, provide additional temporary working areas or extend working hours – measures which may normally require planning permission.

Under the new arrangements, the Council will respond to proposals within ten days. Depending on the assessment, changes may then be allowed to take place without the need for planning permission for a six-month period. The process will be reviewed in January 2021.

It is essential for businesses to contact our planning department with details of proposed changes. This should include a site map, photos and details of any necessary safety provisions. Businesses must also explain why Covid-19 makes these changes necessary.

“Our planners will assess all fast-track proposals in a pragmatic, proactive way,” said Councillor Ann Newton, Cabinet member for Planning & Development. “We will get back to you within ten days. Our free assessment may ask you to take measures to avoid potential impacts on neighbours, ensure road safety and protect access rights. We may not always be able to say yes. “These measures are an important way of helping businesses to safely make the most of the new requirements we all face in order to keep our communities safe.

“When an assessment is agreed, a business will not have to apply for planning permission until after the end of the current Covid-19 recovery period. We will not charge for further pre-application advice if a business then decides to make a full planning application.”

Full details of Wealden’s new fast-track planning process to aid business recovery can be found on the Planning pages of the Wealden website. Business may still need to consider Building Regulations as part of the process. Our Planning team will advise if it is necessary. An alcohol or entertainment licence may be needed. Further details are available from our Rother & Wealden Environmental Health Service.

The new free Fast-Track Service is one of a number of measures announced in Wealden’s Restart and Recovery Strategy to revitalise the Wealden economy after lockdown. This service only applies to specific Covid-19 related changes. It is does not apply to general pre-application advice for other planning enquiries, including permanent alterations, new buildings and home extensions.