Manchester Town Hall Extension Dec 2019
Manchester is one council that is determining applications using statutory powers during the pandemic

Covid-19 planning tracker launched

Sarah Townsend

Consultancy Lichfields has set up an online tracker in the form of an interactive map, to show how local authorities are delivering planning functions during the pandemic.

The web resource holds data for 85% of local planning authorities across England, Wales and Scotland, and will enable users to navigate between different council areas to see what approach each authority is taking to developing local plans, determining applications, holding committee meetings and fulfilling other statutory duties made difficult with lockdown restrictions in place.

The Government amended legislation this month to enable councils to hold committee meetings virtually using video or telephone conferencing. Previously, the law required them to host meetings in person.

Place North West reported last week that some North West authorities have been quick to devise alternative arrangements to progress planning applications despite Covid-19, while others are yet to confirm a strategy for safeguarding their local development pipelines, promoting concerns within the industry.

In addition to the live map, which will be updated regularly, according to Lichfields, users can find guidance on the changing nature of the Government’s advice, regulations and legislation, and what that means for planning and development.

Matthew Spry, Lichfields’ senior director, said: “With the Government’s decision to extend the lockdown we felt we needed to develop new ways of supporting our clients and the wider development industry.

“The day-to-day reality of the planning system has changed, and we believe this interactive guide will be a key tool in supporting the industry over the coming weeks and months”.

Lichfields was set up in 1962 and employs 215 people across the UK.



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Updated regularly? I hope so, that’s a massive undertaking across a sector which is quite literally changing by the day.

By Edge