Planning service changes

As you will understand we have had to make changes to our planning service due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Planning team are working from home. However, they are continuing to process applications and provide pre-application advice through video-conferencing and other means and have the technology to fully manage their caseloads.

We are continuing to register and consult on planning applications, doing our best to provide our service to residents, businesses and developers.

Due to social distancing requirements, we cannot currently hold Planning Committee meetings in person but they are being held in a virtual format. The Council is currently considering how to hold a Planning Committee without a need for a physical meeting. More detail on applications requiring a determination by the Planning Committee is set out below. 

Requests for Planning Enforcement investigations continue to be actioned where possible. We will prioritise cases of the most serious harm, e.g. felling of a protected tree, or irreversible harm to a listed building.

To help the Planning Service provide as good a service as possible, please:

  • submit all new applications via the Planning Portal and provide photographs with the application
  • make any representation/comment on a planning application using our Public Access system (see more detail below)

Planning applications

You can still submit a planning application, but it may take a little longer than usual to process. 

Site visits

We are not currently carrying out site visits. We recommend that you provide photographs with your application to avoid a delay in the decision. The case officer may contact you for further photographs or, where the technology is available, to book a virtual site visit.

Photographs should show the development site within its wider context, to illustrate the relationship with adjacent sites.

Commenting on Planning applications

If you wish to make a representation on a planning application, please give your comments on View and comment on planning applications. There is currently no team member at the Civic Offices to deal with paper representations.

Committee cases

Most planning decisions are made by Council Officers in accordance with Bexley’s Development Plan. Occasionally decisions on the largest or most controversial applications are made by the Planning Committee, made up of elected Councillors. 

We are considering how best to deal with such applications given the limitations currently in place on gatherings of people. The options include holding a ‘virtual’ or ‘e-Committee’. When we have decided how best to proceed, we will update the website.

Duty planner advice 

The Civic Offices are currently closed to the public and the duty planner service is suspended. If you have a query on a planning application, please contact the case officer. For other enquiries please refer to the advice given on Do I need planning permission?

Pre-application advice

We continue to offer the full suite of pre-application advice. If you are considering making a planning application, we recommend that you make use of our pre-application service.

We currently use both Skype video-conferencing and Microsoft Teams for pre-application meetings and for virtual site visits. For cases that are simpler or require less people, a phone call may be enough. When we receive your pre-application request, we will allocate a case officer. We recommend that you discuss the appropriate form for the meeting with them.