Saturday 22 March 2014 10.02pm
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.