Until further notice only serious housing-related complaints of disrepair in privately-rented properties will be inspected by Council Officers. (Please see below for examples)
Customers should contact their landlord (or agent) to report any urgent disrepair in the first instance. They should do this in writing (email, text conversations, or letter with proof of postage) before they make a complaint to Sefton Council.
Council Officers will not action any housing disrepair complaint unless they can provide proof of this and at least 28 days has passed since the initial contact was made. Please note that officers may decide not to visit and inspect properties but ask for photographs of disrepair if these can be supplied electronically.
Due to the ongoing situation, repairs by your landlord may take longer than normal to be carried out.
Any resident who is self-isolating, or over 70, or has underlying health concerns must inform their landlord before any contractor attends their home to undertake works.
Examples of when an inspection by a Council Officer may be deemed necessary at this time:
- There is a duty to inspect because, for example, there is an imminent risk to a tenant’s health due to a serious hazard.
- A serious hazard was previously identified and may still exist.
- The local authority has been made aware that a tenant is vulnerable and it is not clear if they are aware of the presence of hazardous conditions.
This list is not exhaustive and should not be treated as conclusive.
However, it might not be possible to inspect a property if tenants are self-isolating or refusing to allow access. It may be that the Council will look at the following as a way forward in such cases:
• A decision may be made to de-prioritise lower-risk hazards.
• An assessment could be made through photographs, video or live broadcasting by the tenant.
• In cases of very serious risk, the effective use of maintaining strict separation to facilitate an inspection should be very carefully considered, taking into account government guidance and the local authority’s own health and safety policy.
• In cases of extremely hazardous conditions, alternative accommodation might be considered as an alternative to emergency remedial action.
The suggestions above are not exhaustive and all decisions will be made on the merits of the individual case and an assessment of risk.
During this unprecedented time the local housing authority will only take the enforcement action that we determine is necessary. A pragmatic and risk-based approach to enforcement action will be taken. All decisions will be made on the merits of the individual case and based on an assessment of risk and the latest government advice around the outbreak.
If you are homeless, or at risk of homelessness during Covid-19, our Housing Options Team will be working differently. See how you can access their support here
Building and Planning Services
Following the recent government announcement in response to the coronavirus outbreak, we have had to make some changes to the way we work. The Planning Service is continuing to operate as effectively as it can under the circumstances, however our goal is to maintain business as usual.
At this time we ask that everyone observes the Government guidance on social distancing in relation to officers carrying out their duties.
We are no longer able to offer a face to face reception service at Magdalen House.
Submission of applications for building work can be done either by using the Planning Portal at www.planningportal.co.uk or by emailing email@example.com
For all building control issues including advice and guidance on building works and to book inspections, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are notifying us of dangerous structures and vacant and insecure premises please email email@example.com . If you are notifying us outside business hours please telephone Sefton ARC on 0800 622 6107.
Payments - To make payments for building regulation applications please use www.sefton.gov.uk quoting the reference or address of the property. Please can you email firstname.lastname@example.org to notify us of the receipt number once the payment has been made. This will help us to ensure there will be no delay in marrying up your payment with the appropriate case.
At this moment in time please make sure that documents are sent electronically.
For all planning enquiries please email email@example.com
Payments - To make payments for planning and related applications please use www.sefton.gov.uk quoting the reference or address of the property. Please can you email firstname.lastname@example.org to notify us of the receipt number once the payment has been made. This will help us to ensure there will be no delay in marrying up your payment with the appropriate case.
At present, we are suspending site visits until further notice. The only exceptions are where there is a health and safety risk or potential danger, subject to safety precautions being guaranteed. This follows Government advice to limit travel to only that which is essential. We want to continue delivering services and making planning decisions where we can.
During this time, applicants and agents will be required to provide additional information including comprehensive photographs and in some instances videos of the outside and where necessary the inside of properties to assist us. If we consider a site visit to be essential we will not determine an application and the applicant/applicant's agent will be advised.
Site Photograph Guidance Note
As a general guide please can you provide the following site photographs of the site:
- Street scene showing the property in the context of the adjoining properties, including parking arrangements;
- Views towards the proposed development from the front rear and all sides
- Views towards adjoining or other properties abutting the site clearly showing the existing windows, materials and any level changes.
- An annotated block plan to show the location and direction of the photographs taken together with the reference number, address and date photo taken.
- Where considered appropriate a video may be requested;
- A declaration to confirm that the information submitted is correct and an accurate reflection of the site and its context.
Where the proposal involves highway works or other works or changes of use affecting the highway:
- 1 & 2 should be taken from 2.4m back from the carriageway edge in the centre of the access;
- A photograph of speed limit terminals in the vicinity of the site should be included;
- Please include anything extra that you feel will provide a fuller picture of the site context and surrounding area;
- An accompanying plan should clearly reflect the view of any photographs submitted.
Please be aware that any missing information may restrict our ability to fully assess your application and incur delays. In order to minimise any delays please provide as much information as possible including, but not limited to, the following:
- The speed limit of the road, and location of any changes in speed limit;
- Carriageway and footway widths of the surrounding highway network; and
- Level of visibility achievable from the access point, noting the vertical alignment of the highway must also be considered.
These temporary arrangements will remain in place until such time that the Government advises us that normal business arrangements can continue.
Making comments on applications
If you are making representations (i.e. comments) on an application, we can only receive these via our website or by email.
Delegated decision making will continue as usual. We are working on alternative arrangements for considering those applications which would normally be reported to Planning Committee. This is likely to take the shape of a virtual meeting and we will confirm details on our website once finalised.
Temporary Relaxation of Construction Working Hours on Development Sites
On 13 May 2020, the government published a written ministerial statement on planning and construction working hours. This statement expects local planning authorities to approve requests to temporarily extend construction working hours to ensure safe working in line with social distancing guidelines unless there are very compelling reasons against this. Local Planning Authorities are expected to grant temporary changes to construction working hours until at least 9pm, 6 days a week (Mon-Sat), wherever possible and where construction working hours are controlled by planning condition. This flexibility is in relation to control imposed by the planning system only.
In response to this the Council have published a guide to how we will deal with such requests.
Details of how to apply to temporarily extend construction hours can be found here
Planning enforcement complaints
During this period Planning Enforcement complaints will only be investigated where there is evidence of significant harm.
General enquiries and queries
If you have a general planning query, please get in touch with Sefton’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845 (Option 4). You can find answers to the most frequent queries either on our Planning Pages[SM1] or on the Planning Portal, both these sites provide a range of planning information.
If you still need to contact us, you can email us at email@example.com , though there may be some delay in responding to you.
All search requests should be made via
Please email requests for Local land Charge Searches to firstname.lastname@example.org
Payments - To make payments for land charge searches please use www.sefton.gov.uk quoting the address of the property. Please can you email email@example.com to notify us of the receipt number once the payment has been made. This will help us to ensure there will be no delay in marrying up your payment with the appropriate case