Neighbourhood Plans: COVID-19 MHCLG FAQs and Updated PPG
Wednesday 8th April 2020
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has helpfully published a series of FAQs dealing with changes to neighbourhood planning in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19). Read the FAQs HERE
Covid-19 related updates have also been made to the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) on 7 April 2020, principally as follows:
- Referendums: All neighbourhood planning referendums that have been recently cancelled, or are scheduled to take place (between 16 March 2020 and 5 May 2021) are postponed until 6 May 2021. [Note: The FAQs note that these provisions will be kept under review and may be amended or revoked in response to changing circumstances.]
- Decision-making: Where the local planning authority has issued a decision statement detailing its intention to send a neighbourhood plan to referendum, that plan can be given significant weight in decision-making.
- Examinations: The general rule remains that examinations should be conducted by written representations. If an examiner considers that oral representations are necessary, these should not take place in person. Where feasible, oral representations may still take place using video conferencing or other suitable technologies.
- Public consultation: Neighbourhood planning groups or local planning authorities intending to undertake public consultation (Regulations 14 and Regulation 16 respectively) should consider the government's current guidance on restriction of movement.
For more information, see PPG Reference ID: 41-107-20200407 available HERE