For the first time in Devon, a tool has been made available to help residents save time and money on basic planning enquiries.
The Expert Planning resource is provided online by South Hams District Council. It lets residents know whether or not they require planning permission for a particular home development project.
The resource works by asking a series of simple questions and gathering basic details of the land or property and the proposed development. Users can work through the questions at their own pace, saving enquiries for completion at a later date.
SHDC’s Head of Planning and Building Control, Stephen Munday, said: “As a quick, easy and cost-free means of finding out whether you need planning permission for a home improvement or more substantial development, the Expert Planning resource is ideal.
“It’s available via the council website – www.southhams.gov.uk and if you find you want to speak to a member of SHDC’s Planning team, by simply quoting your Expert Planning reference number when you call, the Planning Officer can bring up your inputted information immediately.”
The service is free to use, available 24/7 throughout the year, and users simply have to log on to the council’s website, click in the ‘Residents’ tab and follow the links to ‘Planning’ to give it a go.
SHDC Executive member for Access to the Council’s Services, Cllr Nicky Barnes, said: “The SHDC website is perhaps the easiest and most cost effective way for residents to access council services.
“This Expert Planning resource, which I’m pleased to say is a first for Devon, is only one in a long line of services we’re bringing on towww.southhams.gov.uk.It follows the introduction last year of a website resource that allows residents to read applications and related papers online.
“According to monitoring, the planning application viewer pages are consistently well-attended, and initial indicators suggest the Expert Planning resource will enjoy the same level of success.”