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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Arrangements for Planning and Building Control Service

We are currently experiencing an increase in planning application submissions at the same time as managing reduced staff resources.

Due to the high number of cases that are prevalent in the area we are still following physical distancing and working from home as far as possible. We are progressing as many applications as we can but some staff are affected by restrictions. This will impact on our productivity and speed.  

We are doing everything we can to deal with applications and correspondence as quickly as possible but we have significant backlogs and you should expect some delay. 
We would encourage you to contact us by email if at all possible to free up our phone capacity for urgent matters and those who cannot use email.

We will continue to monitor this difficult situation and this webpage will be kept up to date with all changes, including when normal service will resume. 

Do I need to apply for Planning or Building regulations?

Visit Planning, building and developmentPlanning Portal (opens new window) or Gov.UK (opens new window)  for information and advice about the planning process and what needs permission.  

Booking a Building Regulation site inspection

Our Building Control site inspection service is operating. We will undertake site inspections in line with our own risk assessments and government guidance on social distancing. 

Where possible we'll:

  • arrange a time for the inspection. We'll need the area to be inspected, clear of any site personnel before our visit; 
  • arrange to meet you or your contractor on site in an area where we can maintain at least two metres separation distance.
  • carry out internal inspections alone. The building should be well ventilated during the inspection.

If we cannot keep social distancing or there is an infection risk we'll leave the site immediately. We'll return when measures are in place to reduce that risk. 

We would ask for your cooperation in this.

When you book a site inspection supply a contact number and the type of the inspection. We'll call you to resolve any issues and decide if a site inspection is necessary.

Making an application 

We're still accepting applications for both planning and building regulation consent with online applications being preferred. Paper applications will be subject to delays. 

We can only accept a BACS payment for the planning and building control fees.  We will email you to confirm the fee amount and the details required to complete the payment. 

For further information on the building regulation process and making an application visit Applying for Building Regulation Approval.

Dangerous structures

Call   0191 478 7665 or email if you have any concerns about a building or structure that is of immediate danger to the general public.

Where it is possible and safe to do so, a building control surveyor will inspect the reported building or structure within 24 hours.

Please continue to check this page for any updates.

Reporting a breach of planning 

You can report works that have taken place without the correct permissions and we will investigate. However, due to the numbers of cases under investigation there are significant backlogs and you should expect that investigations are currently taking some time to complete. 

Staffing and telephones

At the moment, our officers are working from home as advised by the Government and this will unfortunately impact on the services we can offer, in particular telephone calls. We do have a voicemail service but we would encourage you to contact us via email to free up our phone capacity for those who do not have access to email.

If you have an urgent query please email the Planning Team ( and Building Control Team (  and we will aim to respond to you within five working days.