Planning service update

The council not only understands the important role that the Planning System will play in assisting the recovery of the economy following the current period of social isolation, but also the importance of a planning service for smaller scale proposals for individual families and households. The council therefore continues to operate a Development Management (Planning) service but with staff now almost entirely home-based. This has resulted in some changes to the way in which the service operates and, with the situation constantly evolving, we may need to make further changes in due course; you should revisit this page for further updates.

New permitted development rights for pubs, cafés and restaurants

The Government has introduced new permitted development rights for pubs (Use Class A4) and cafés & restaurants (Use Class A3) to operate solely for any use for the provision of hot or cold food that has been prepared for consumers for collection or delivery to be consumed, reheated or cooked by consumers off the premises (Use Class A5). This right to change the use of premises is time limited for 12 months and expires on 23 March 2021.

You will need to notify the council of this change of use; Please do so by e-mailing, providing the address, business name, previous use and contact details.  You will receive an acknowledgement from the council.

The use of the premises prior to the change of use to food takeaway will be reinstated after the use as a food takeaway has ceased.

Contacting the Planning Service

General enquiries should be made through as normal. In order to ensure that you receive a response, a valid email address should be provided as no post is now being sent from the Planning Service.

Case officers will be available by email, and this is the preferred method of contact. Contact by phone is still available through the council's switchboard, but please bear in mind that we will be prioritising calls for the council's critical services, and therefore we would ask that wherever possible you communicate with officers via e-mail. Officers will be able to phone you back, if required and contact details are provided.

Planning enforcement enquiries should be made through the council's Planning Enforcement webpage.

Pre-application advice

Pre-application advice is a valuable tool in the Development Management process and the council is still able to offer the majority of these services.  However, face to face meetings such as the duty planner service and planning surgeries will only be held via telephone. No site visits will be conducted as part of the pre-application service; however officers will be able to consider any photographs provided.

Site visits

Site visits for planning applications will not be able to be undertaken until further notice. Applicants are asked to provide comprehensive photographs of the outside and inside of a property and/or relevant views out. The case officer may contact applicants to request photographs of particular elements of the site, and from certain vistas. It may be the case that, without a site visit, some applications will not be able to be progressed at this time, and the council will consider a range of options available, including long-term extensions of time or withdrawal of the application altogether.

Enforcement site visits will only take place for the very highest priority cases and only where the council is satisfied that the risk to the public through the possible further transmission of the COVID-19 disease can be avoided.

Submitting applications

The preferred method of submission is via the Planning Portal or by e-mail if this is not possible. Applications submitted by hard copy will likely experience significant delay in processing.

Please note cheques for application fees can no longer be processed. Payment can be made on the Planning payments webpage.

Consultation responses

The council's postal services are currently operating a limited service. All representations to planning applications should be made electronically, ideally through the council's public access webpage, but if this is not possible then by e-mail to

Publicity and site notices

For the foreseeable future the council's own published protocol on the publicity of planning applications is suspended and all applications will instead be required to meet the minimum statutory requirements for publicity, as set out in the Town and Country (Development Management Procedure) Order (DMPO). Given the restricted access to Chichester District Council offices and the need to minimise staff at that location, it will no longer be possible to send postal notifications to owners or occupiers of land adjacent to application sites. 

A site notice will now be displayed for each planning application, this will be sent electronically to the owner/occupier of the site where possible, who will be asked to print and display the notice outside of the property, where it is possible to do so safely. Alternative mechanisms for displaying site notices may be considered on a site-by-site basis, where this is not possible.

In addition to the statutory required publicity for applications, the public are encouraged to register with the Public Access System for either Chichester District Council Plan area or the South Downs National Park, depending on the area in which a potential site of interest is located. In addition to searching, viewing and commenting on planning applications, these systems allow you to 'Track' Applications and 'Save Searches' please see the pdf document 'Public Access User Guide' available on the registration page.

Alternatively, outside of the South Downs National Park, the council's My Alerts system  provides similar functionality, but provides updates on other key council services as well.

For Planning Enforcement, compliance with the council's Enforcement Strategy is temporarily suspended in light of the difficulty of being able to contact all interested persons at this time in accordance with the published timescales. The service will, however, continue to investigate alleged breaches of planning control as far as it is currently possible.


Officers of the planning service will not be conducting face-to-face meetings until further notice. Officers are contactable via email and can make outgoing phone calls to any contact details provided.

Planning committee

The council has now returned to physically held Planning Committees.These will typically occur once a month. Please view the committee details  to find out the next Planning Committee date, as well as minutes of previous committees.

Notification of an upcoming Planning Committee will be sent to any parties who have made a comment in relation to an application to be heard on that agenda.  Public speaking will be possible by submission of a written statement to be read out by officers.