The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority has had to make rapid and significant changes to its working practices in response to coronavirus (Covid-19). It appears likely this issue will continue to significantly impact on the delivery of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s planning service for some time to come. It has impacted directly on the processing of the application that you have made to us and the purpose of this letter is to outline the current position regarding the processing of applications.
In responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19) the Authority has acted in accordance with guidance from the Welsh Government which is attached with this letter / email. The Authority’s normal approach to publicising applications often includes the placing of a site notice and sending neighbour notification letters. An officer will also in most circumstances undertake a site inspection as part of determining the application. In accordance with the Welsh Government guidance neither a journey to place a site notice or inspect a site would amount to an essential activity; unless related to a small set of applications that support the response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Authority is also concerned that a site notice would not be an effective method of publicity during a period where many people are making only essential journeys. The Authority is also not able to produce or send neighbour notification letters due to the closure of its offices.
The Authority has also been made aware that many of the Community, Town and City Councils within our area are not able to hold meetings and comment on applications. They along with our Authority are awaiting Welsh Government advice on how they can undertake meetings at the current time. We have also been advised that the capacity for other consultees to respond to consultations is severely reduced.
The planning system is an inherently public process and the publicity for applications are statutory requirements. Therefore until such time as publicity for an application can be undertaken or the Welsh Government amend legislation the Authority will not be able to finally determine your planning application.
We appreciate that this maybe a source of frustration, but does reflect the current exceptional situation that everyone is adapting to. Where the position changes and we are able to progress matters in relation to your proposal we will advise you of this.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority