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Planning and Building Control Services - Policy on Fair Access to Planning Services

It is the Services' aim to ensure that all people can get the same high level of service from us.

Services for People with Disabilities in the Council Offices, Ashton

Access to services provided in the Council Offices is available for people with mobility problems. There is level access at both the Wellington Road entrance and Market Ground entrance. All applications can be viewed using our online system and a duty officer is available from the hours of 8.30 - 5.00 Monday to Wednesday, 8.30 - 4.30 Thursday and 8.30 - 4.00 Friday. Applications from 1977 to 1999 are stored on Microfiche in the Planning admin Office. Please visit our reception area located on the ground floor, and arrangements will be made for you to see the microfiche. This is the level of service already provided for ambulant disabled people as it is taxing for many of them to get to our offices via long corridors. There is access to our Reception Area via a bank of lifts and along a level corridor. The fire doors and lift doors are wide enough for wheelchairs to pass through.

For people with visual impairment a planning officer would verbally describe the proposed development in a planning application or would read other types of document. When requested, the information can be provided in large font (14 point) except for plans and diagrams.

For people with auditory impairment Planning Services would hold any meeting in a room with a loop system. The Interviews Rooms on the Ground Floor of the Council Offices all have a loop installed. If the person needing the service is profoundly deaf the Planning Service would need to provide a Signer for the Deaf from the Hearing Impairment Team. Several days notice would be needed for this to be arranged.

All applications can be seen with our online system at all our Customer Services Centres..

Services for Disabled People at the Customer Service Centres in Denton, Droylsden, Dukinfield, Hyde, Longdendale, Mossley and Stalybridge

Five of the Customer Care Centres, at Hyde, Stalybridge, Denton, Droylsden and Dukinfield, have level access or a ramp suitable for someone in a wheelchair. All these centres have a loop system fitted in an adjacent Interview Room. The Customer Service Centres in Mossley and Mottram (the latter serving also Hollingworth and Broadbottom) have moved recently to Mossley Library and Mottram Library, where there is a loop system and access for people with mobility difficulties.

Services for Housebound People

Development Control staff, dealing with planning applications and enforcement matters, do visit people in their own homes if they cannot get to the local Customer Service Centre. People needing this service include both those with mobility difficulties and those with caring responsibilities for young children, elderly people or disabled people.

Development Control staff will also write out a person's comments on a planning application if they are unable to write themselves.

Access to Speakers Panel

The Speakers Panel, which determines planning applications, is held on Level 1 in the Council Offices. There is a loop system fitted. The room is accessible to people with mobility impairment as explained in the first paragraph of this policy. There is a full standard unisex toilet on the Ground Floor of the Council Offices and a toilet suitable for people with mobility impairment near the Committee Room.

Pages of the agenda of the Speakers Panel relevant to any visually impaired person attending will be provided in font 14. This service needs to be requested a week before the Speakers Panel Meeting.

Disability Discrimination Act

In 2004 the Disability Discrimination Act will require all bodies providing services to the public to make their services accessible to disabled people, if this is reasonably possible. This requirement will include Council Services, shops and offices such as solicitors, banks and building societies. Planning and Building Control Services will continue to offer advice about the requirements of the legislation and how the service provider can best adapt their premises to meet the legislation. Both Development Control and Building Control staff provide this advice. In future it is expected that more disabled people will seek advice about their rights under the Act. Although the legislation is not a Local Authority responsibility, except where it concerns our own buildings. We propose to continue giving this service. If disabled people find the service they want to reach is inaccessible to them need to appeal to the Disability Rights Commission to get the premises in question altered so they are accessible.

Services for People from Ethnic Minorities  


The consultation letter sent to neighbouring residents and businesses to let them know that a planning application has been received which may affect them, has a note on it in the three most commonly spoken languages after English. The notes say that the recipient should contact the Translators in Customer Services on phone number 0161 342 2284. Usually the relevant translator will contact the planning officer dealing with the application to get a description of the development proposed which is passed on to their client. Occasionally the translator will come with a client to look at the planning application and to discuss it with the planning officer. Planning Services intends to continue with this service.

There is also a Translator available in the Meet and Greet area on the ground floor of the Council Offices.

Services for People with Religious Affiliations  

Planning and Building Control Services staff are available at all times when the Council Offices are open so that people do not need to visit on their holy days.

Planning Services will avoid holding either public meetings or the Speakers Panel, which determines planning applications, on holy days for any religion including Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Bahá'i. Planning Services will also avoid holding meetings on Fridays when it is difficult for Muslims attend or on Friday afternoon or evening or Saturdays when Jews would find it difficult to attend.

Services on the Web

Internet services are available from home 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and are of great benefit to those who are housebound, or who because of work or domestic commitments cannot contact us or visit during the working day.


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