Coronavirus update – 27 March 2020

These are difficult times for us all. The staff and Members at the National Park Authority are working hard to keep things as normal as possible. In line with the latest Government advice we have taken the decision to close all of our offices with immediate effect.  We will keep this page updated as circumstances change.

Please use your nearest green or open space to minimise travel and avoid places that are normally busy with visitors when taking your once a day outdoor exercise, as advised by Government.

Please follow the Government’s guidance on social distancing – this means you must stay 2 metres (6 ft) away from other people and should not be going out in groups of more than two other than your own family group.

From all of us at the South Downs National Park Authority, stay safe.

South Downs Centre

All of our offices are now closed. If you have a general query please email info@southdowns.gov.uk

Contacting staff

All of our staff are working from home but can be contacted by email or phone as normal.

In line with Government guidance, staff will not be having face-to-face meetings to ensure the safety of everyone.

Planning applications

At the moment new planning applications are being registered.

Committees

Following the most recent Government advice, we have taken the decision to postpone all Authority and Committee meetings (including Planning Committee) until further notice, with the exception of the Authority meeting scheduled for the 26th March  2020, which will take place but via electronic means

Following the 26th March, necessary decisions will be taken by the Chief Executive and other Senior Officers in line with our scheme of delegation and urgency powers – set out in our standing orders. Decisions will be taken following consultation with the Chair of the Authority and other Members as appropriate. This is because the law does not currently allow for the Authority to make certain decisions other than at public meetings, and public meetings are not possible at the present time. This position may change in the coming weeks, and further updates will be posted on our website

Planning applications will continue to be processed in line with our usual procedures and the public will still have the opportunity to comment on planning applications in the usual way. At this time we would encourage use of the Public Access Pages and emails rather than letters for obvious reasons.

We would similarly encourage the submission of new planning applications via the Planning Portal or by email rather than paper based submissions.

We urge everyone to follow the latest government advice and only leave their home for the specific purposes advised by the government

Volunteers

In keep our lovely volunteers safe and in line with Government guidance, we have suspended all volunteering until further notice.