Residents and businesses in Ealing are being given more time to have their say on planning applications in the borough as a result of the current government restrictions due to COVID-19.

Ealing Council has now doubled the consultation period for all major and most residential and small scheme planning applications from the statutory three weeks (21 days) to six weeks (42 days).

This new longer period is effective on all applications received from 14 April 2020 onwards.  The new 42-day consultation date will appear on site notices, press adverts and in the council’s regular communications with the borough’s conservation area groups and resident associations.

Ealing Council want to ensure critical decisions continue to be made. The council would like to see developers using digital platforms to engage with residents and the council wish to move to a virtual planning system.

Cllr Peter Mason, cabinet member for planning, housing and transformation, said:

“Despite the restrictions imposed on us by the lockdown, the council is going to even greater lengths to ensure that we capture and take on board the public’s views about the planning applications being put before us. That’s why we’ve doubled the consultation period on the majority of applications, including large schemes, we’re going out to residents’ groups to get their views and we’re making more information available online.

“This will include using our online technology to help us reach a wider group of residents and groups who may not have been able to attend a committee meeting in person or who may be shielding. These virtual meetings will, I hope, help us to connect to a wider audience, get a broader input from our communities and be another tool that will hold us to account.

“Keeping our planning services running as smoothly as possible is very important to Ealing’s recovery, as well as ensuring we continue to secure genuinely affordable homes that are fit for heroes. The key workers on the front line of this crisis are often the ones faced with expensive rents and priced out of the housing market.

“By doing this, we will help the whole industry be ready to emerge from this crisis, from local tradespeople working on small scale extensions to the hundreds who are employed in dozens of professions working on big schemes across the borough.

“By continuing our planning service in the ways set out, I know this will put the borough and the construction industry in the strongest position to recover quickly from the crisis.”

Moving with the times could see Ealing Council set a good example across London.

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