Planning Service - COVID-19 pandemic service update

We are adapting so we can continue our service where possible. The Planning Authority is aware of both its importance during the public health emergency, and the critical role it can play in the economic recovery following the crisis. This page will be updated where necessary.

The key points of our current level of service are: 

  • Fairfield House reception, the office within which the Planning service is based, is closed.
  • Most of the Planning team are working remotely, but are still contactable by email.
  • The Duty Planning Service continues to be delivered in an electronic format only – please do not come to the office to see the duty planning officer. Email enquiries to [email protected]. Please have some patience regarding this service. Emergency correspondence should be identified as such and will be treated accordingly. 
  • The Planning Authority continues to validate applications for the various planning-related consents. There is generally minimal delay in the registration of online submissions that have all necessary information and payment. Please submit applications and credit card payments through the planning portal only.
  • Applications without an online payment are automatically invalid. We strongly advise that applications are accompanied by an online payment.
  • Planning staff have remote access to case files, and are processing applications where possible. Case officers are available by email. (If you don't have a direct email address, please use [email protected]).
  • As a matter of course, we ask you agree to an extension to the timeframe of your application. This is precautionary, and does not necessarily mean that there will be a delay. Case officers obviously cannot do site visits, and other statutory processes are difficult. This will have some impact on processing times. 
  • Processing of paper based submissions will be delayed. In the case of representations, to comment on planning applications you should submit your views via: 
    • the online planning file comments tab (you will need to register for this)
    • or email your letter direct to the case officer or duty planning inbox
  • Planning staff have remote access to case files, and are processing planning applications where possible. Case officers are available via email (if you do not have a direct email address, please use [email protected]). As a matter of course we ask that applicants agree to an extension to the timeframe for the determination of their planning application. This is a precautionary measure and does not necessarily mean that there will be a delay. However, case officers are obviously unable to carry out site visits, and other statutory processes are also difficult. This will have some impact on processing times.
  • We continue to send notifications to neighbouring properties of planning applications, as normal. 
  • We continue to place advertisements in the local press - where legislation requires it - as normal. 
  • Planning authority officers are adhering to social distancing requirements and therefore will not visit planning application sites unless the visit is absolutely essential in order to process the application. In such cases they will do so while observing social distancing
  • We are requesting the help of applicants to post site notices. Where these are required, we will send a laminated copy of the site notice to the applicant, asking them to  display it in a publicly visible place adjacent to the application site. We also ask the applicant to send a photograph back to us. This will show that the notice has been posted in order to comply with the law. Contact the Planning Authority for more information about this.
  • When case officers visit a site, they may not alert applicants of their presence, but they will be wearing a high visibility vest and Midlothian Council identification. We ask that in the interests of the safety of both the public and our officers that no-one approaches or tries to engage with the case officer. Case officers may ask applicants to include clear photographs of the site and neighbouring properties with their applications to reduce unnecessary site visits.
  • The Midlothian Council Planning Committee is due to reconvene on 9 June. However, no formal schedule of further committee meetings is yet agreed. The Council’s Local Review Body is still suspended.

If you have any questions not answered here about our service during the pandemic, email [email protected] and we will try our best to answer them. 

This page will change as circumstances dictate, and the Planning service responds to the situation.