Belfast City Council announces new customer service charter for planning application system

On top of other recommendations being introduced by Belfast City Council, a new Customer Charter with ten operating principles to reduce back-logs in the planning application system and speed up transactions.

The new customer service charter will incliude: 

• Customers have the right information in support of an application before submitting it;
• Consultations with the right people take place at the beginning of the process and follow correct consultation procedures;
• Site visits happen as soon as are practically possible; no later than 21 days after an application is valid;
• Customer requirements are fully understood and needs are met, such as timescales for projects;
• The ‘path’ of an application is determined as soon as possible, whether it will be approved, refused or changes needed;
• Customers know our views on their application; and opportunity should be given to address problems as soon as possible, where there is a solution;
• A Pre-Application Discussion service is provided to identify issues at the beginning of the process and before the application is made;
• Unacceptable applications will be determined as quickly as possible in the interests of the efficiency of the overall service;
• Where there is an obligation to take account of the advice from technical consultees, there will be a proportionate approach to the handling of each planning application; and
• Work will be kept moving at all times with an understanding that any blockage in the process will cause delays.