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03/06/2020

My view on... responding to the Covid-19 pandemic

In west Wales, senior planner Russell Hughes-Pickering is looking at opportunities created by the lockdown

By and large, in Ceredigion we’ve been able to continue dealing with planning applications and accepting new applications that are received electronically. We do have a couple of challenges in terms of planning committees and neighbour consultations, but we’re trying to avoid a situation where a backlog builds up so we can be in a good position when we get back to the new normal. We want to be able to help businesses and others who need to get their applications through, rather than dealing with a backlog of smaller applications.

"We’re looking at whether there are some processes that can be reviewed and whether there are some new practices we can adopt going forward. Can we build on some of the remote working we are doing now?"

I’ve also been keen to look at other opportunities – in our situation in Ceredigion, we’re about 30 to 35 per cent down on the number of applications and I’m hoping to use that time to see if we can get a clean slate in terms of applications. This is unique situation, where we are able to go away and reduce the numbers like that.

Also, we’re looking at whether there are some processes that can be reviewed and whether there are some new practices we can adopt going forward. Can we build on some of the remote working we are doing now? Do we operate differently with agents and committees in future? Can we set our own bar higher than it is at the moment, so that our services can continue to improve?

Russell (top right) is Corporate Lead Officer: Economy & Regeneration at Ceredigion County Council. Together with Victoria Robinson (Vale of Glamorgan Council), bottom right, and Gareth Jones (Gwynedd Council), he was speaking to the RTPI’s Roisin Willmott (bottom left) for RTPI Online Events 2020. See the full video.

Russell Hughes-Pickering is corporate lead officer: economy and regeneration at Ceredigion County Council

Image credit | iStock

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