Southwark Duty Planner

Join in these discussions today! Log in or register.
Wednesday 19 March 2014 2.00pm
From looking at Southwark's website it seems there is no longer a duty planner service. As I think someone from Southwark's planning team does use this forum, perhaps they could explain how the removal of this service will improve the design of minor development in the Borough, and improve people's access to advice on planning issues?
CJG
Friday 21 March 2014 11.21am
I'm nothing to do with Southwark Council. I'd noticed they'd been scrapped too, and have formed a couple of best guesses on this.

My presumption is the council deems their consultation for each proposal to be sufficient canvassing of the relevant opinions. Those neighbours deemed to be affected by a proposal will be written to and their feedback sought. If you're not a neighbour or similar, and don't receive correspondence on a proposal I'm sure there is still a mechanism for submitting feedback. Rightly or wrongly, amidst the current political pressure to build 'stuff', I wouldn't be too hopeful that unsolicited opinion sharing would get much council time devoted to it.

I'm also guessing there's a perception at the council that Duty Planners were providing free advice for professional developers. As long as there was a Duty Planner the council might have thought they were undermining their own potentially lucrative pre-application advice service, which ain't cheap. The irony being that in my limited side-return-related experience the DPs would seemingly avoid any kind of definitive statement that one could confidently act on.
Friday 21 March 2014 1.47pm
There is no required to write if they put up a site notice / press notice in the paper. Site/press notice or consultation letter.

They write if they want to, and they tend to have no rules how extensively to write.

This was made clear by the multiple application for the Ship Inn Rotherhithe, and each time the distribution of letters changed.

So those of us who watch make sure we check the planning application register.

The planning / planning policy department is always put up for cuts. One reason for that is that they have not exactly made themselves popular with the public.
Friday 21 March 2014 5.28pm
@CJG I can see why they might not want to have the duty planner giving advice on developments that should be getting advice through the paid for pre-app meetings but Jo(e) Bloggs doing a rear/side/front extension etc. should also have access to decent advice so they can give a decent steer to their architect of draughtsman. Seems shortsighted if the community hope to improve the visual amenity of the borough.
Friday 21 March 2014 5.36pm
i wish i could be as not cynical about the role of council planning officers (the idea that any of them would devote any, let alone sufficient, time to work with local residents, explain things, provide whatever support needed, let alone listen to us, does not seem to be anywhere on the council's radar).

we'd just completed a massive audit of all the planning decisions made in southwark in 2013 (it's not perfect but gives a very clear idea of where we, as southwark residents, are), the final bit is this: http://www.peoplesrepublicofsouthwark.co.uk/hold-news/news/3393-the-planning-points-16

(you may want to go through the others too, if you're out of things to do on a friday night :) the 'people speak' ones have screengrabs of what local residents actually wrote in their comments which was a huge eye-opener really)
x
Saturday 22 March 2014 10.02pm
jonnyboy122 wrote:
From looking at Southwark's website it seems there is no longer a duty planner service. As I think someone from Southwark's planning team does use this forum, perhaps they could explain how the removal of this service will improve the design of minor development in the Borough, and improve people's access to advice on planning issues?

As some in the forum have rightly guessed, the primary users of the duty line were planning consultants and developers looking for specific advice on proposals rather than general planning advice (which was its purpose). The other frequent callers were those needing advice on navigating the website. Thankfully, the Council has improved the website making it much easier to navigate, but there still is some way to go to make it truly user friendly, but I digress.

Officers are compiling a list of FAQs and answers for the planning website that we plan to publish shortly. This is after officers logged the types of questions asked over a two month period. Also, we have provided the Council's Customer Service Centre with guidance on the application and consultation processes in order that they may provide help for local residents with general planning enquiries. If the call to the CSC is one their staff cannot answer, they forward it on to planning officers including yours truly.

For those householders seeking specific advice on making an application, we do offer a pre-application service for a fee. The fees are currently under review and may result in a new tier for some application enquiries at a lower fee.

To post a message, please log in or register..

Keep up with SE1 news

We have three email newsletters for you to choose from: