Update from the Planning Service

Planning Duty Officer and Pre-Application Enquiry services

Update from the Planning Service (at 23 April)

Planning Duty Officer and Pre-Application Enquiry services

Temporary suspension of the free Planning Duty Officer and Pre-Application Enquiry services which began 22nd February extended until 24th May.

We are sorry we have to take this step and continue with this cutback on service provision, but we are still focusing on the legislative requirements. This will benefit everyone in the long term, by allowing our officers to continue to provide the best possible service when faced with our increased workload and the additional pressure of poor connectivity.

At present we continue to have 60 applications that are still to be allocated to an officer. The timescale in which they can expect to be so following validation has during the period of the last month been maintained at 8 weeks. When the cutback in service provision began it stood at 12 weeks.

We continue to have the Marine Planning team taking on some of the development management work to help with applications and reduce the backlog further.

Despite the staffing shortages that remain and the heavy workload, including dealing with variations and amendments to previous approvals, we have in the period since the suspension of the services began determined 79 applications under delegated powers.

Next steps

Taking account of the pressure and stresses that are being felt currently, we have decided to extend the temporary suspension of the free Planning Duty Officer and Pre-Application Enquiry services until 24th May. During this time, we will focus again on the statutory function of processing applications. This will give the Team a better chance of success in continuing to tackle the backlog of planning applications to further shorten the timescales by when those which have been validly made can be subject of assessment, reporting and determination.

Please note the Building Standards Team, who are currently fully staffed, will continue to provide a Duty Officer Service.

There are lots of on-line resources which may help to answer your queries on the Planning Service website and the Scottish Government website, please see links below:

Planning Service Website: https://www.shetland.gov.uk/planning-applications

Scottish Government website: https://www.gov.scot/policies/planning-architecture/