An aerial view of Southport, including the Marine Lake, King's Gardens, the Marine Way Bridge and Bliss Hotel.

Innovative practices, dedicated staff and new technology has allowed Sefton Council’s Planning team to remain working seamlessly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 650 planning decisions and applications have been made in Sefton since March as Sefton Council continues to deliver this vital service without disruption.

Planning has been identified as one of the key factors in helping boost the borough’s well-being once the COVID-19 pandemic is over and work is now well underway to help kick start the economic recovery of Sefton.

To allow for this Sefton Council have implemented a number of both temporary and permanent changes to how the Planning process works to help support residents and businesses.

This includes:

Free pre-application advice

Refunding schemes which require a renewal of consent due to being impacted by COVID-19.

Issuing 5-year timeframes on all new consented schemes to help combat lost time due to COVID-19.

The news has been warmly welcomed by property developers and planning agents in the borough.

Rob Anderson from RAL Architects said: “During this pandemic I have not observed any difference in the high quality of service provided by Sefton Council, with the speed of decision making on planning application not noticeably affected, which is a real credit to the Council.”

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While major borough investor Mike McComb of McComb Property Co added: “It is critical that during times like these that planning departments remain open for business and adopt flexible and innovative approaches that help build investor confidence and stimulate economic recovery, making it easier to attract funding.

“This is exactly what Sefton Council is doing and I will continue to invest in Sefton as a result of this, and no doubt many others will too.”

Cllr Daren Viedman, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning & Building Control, praised the work of the Planning team, saying: “I am proud that we have excelled during these challenging times.

“It is vitally important that we do what we can to support the local economy and work to secure investment and opportunity across the borough and we are fully geared up to meet this challenge.”

“We also recognise that the Planning Committee must also does its part to ensure that decisions can continue to be made on some of the more complex and challenging proposals to compliment the proactive work of our officers. In this respect, we plan to meet more frequently than normal to ensure decisions on key proposals are made.”

For more information on Sefton Council’s Planning & Building Control services visit

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