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Planning privacy notice

The Planning Service for Barnet council is delivered by Re (Regional Enterprise). This privacy notice explains how we use information in our work as a Local Planning Authority. This work includes:

  • Making recommendations and providing advice on all types of planning applications
  • Making planning policies
  • Working with neighbourhoods on their plans
  • Working with neighbouring local authorities on strategic policies
  • Responding to allegations of unlawful development
  • Monitoring development
  • Entering legal agreements, serving notices and promoting the best use of land

All delegated planning decisions are made by officers authorised and employed by the London Borough of Barnet. We use the information provided to us to make decisions about development and the use of land in the public interest.  

Barnet Council will collect and use the information you give us to undertake our functions as a local authority and deliver services to you. It is our responsibility to ensure that your information is kept safe. Where necessary and legally allowed, we will share your information with trusted external organisations, commissioned partners and contracted service providers in order to deliver services and support to you.

The information we collect may be used to better understand your use of our services and assist us in improving our services. This is to ensure we are using public funds in the best possible way. Under our duty to protect public money we may use the information you have provided for the prevention and detection of crime.

Comments on planning applications and the name and address of the commenter are published online. Please do not include any personal information you would not be happy to be publicly available in your comment. Please do not include personal information of others without their permission. People requesting to speak at planning committee will need to consent to their name and email address to be disclosed to other individuals who have requested to speak.  When an appeal is made a copy of your comment, with your contact details will be passed to the planning inspectorate and the appellant. 

We are required by law to publish some information on planning registers. This is a permanent record of our planning decisions that form part of the planning history of a site, along with other facts that form part of the ‘land search’. We publish some personal information as part of these registers, such as the name and address of planning applicants and those formally commenting on planning applications, supporting documents such as design and access statements, arboriculture surveys, covering letters, withdrawal requests and similar.

We use this data to assess the application and inform other departments of the potential development to ensure the correct consents are in place and the development is compliant with the permission granted and planning law. 

We may also contact customers who use our service to see how we can improve it.

We receive applicant information in numerous ways – it is supplied to us directly from the applicant or on behalf of the following but not exclusive to, planning agents/solicitors/developers/builders. We may also receive information from a third-party website that provides a transaction service. These currently include but are not exclusive to:

  • the Planning Portal
  • iApply
  • Planning Inspectorate
  • Submit-a-plan
  • Land Registry
  • National Land Information Service (NLIS)
  • TM searches. 

We also receive comments, representations, allegations and questions via email, letter, and through our platform(s) such as the www.barnet.gov.uk, planning public access webpage or the online Planning Register. We may also be given information passed on via local councillors and other departments within the council. 

Personal information collected

To allow us to make decisions on applications, we must be provided with some personal data (e.g. name, address, contact details). In a small number of circumstances individuals will provide us with "special category data" in support of their application (e.g. evidence of medical history or the documentary evidence required for self-builders to prove residency).  Examples of data provided below:

  • name
  • address
  • email
  • telephone number
  • bank details
  • agent contact details (if applicable)
  • full address of the development
  • special categories data
  • information agreed to be confidential

Some of this information will form part of the statutory planning register and will therefore be in the public domain.  Information agreed to be confidential will not be published on the online register, but will still form part of the statutory register and may need to be released under FOI, a public interest test will be carried out in this situation.

Redaction ('blanking things out')

We operate a policy where we routinely redact the following details before making forms and documents available online:

  1. personal contact details for the applicant such as phone numbers and email addresses
  2. signatures
  3. Special Category Data - e.g. supporting statements that include information about health conditions or ethnic origin
  4. information agreed to be confidential

Sometimes we might decide it is necessary, justified and lawful to disclose data that appears in the list above. In these circumstances we will let you know of our intention before we publish anything.

If you are submitting supporting information which you would like to be treated confidentially or wish to be specifically withheld from the public register, please let us know as soon as you can - ideally in advance of submitting the application.  It will not always be possible to withhold information from the register that is fundamental to the assessment of the application, even if a request is received to do so.  In these circumstances, where a request has been made to redact information and it is refused the reasons will be explained.

Please note, agent details are not normally classed as personal data therefore will be visible to the public.

We charge for planning applications and will record payment amounts made, amounts outstanding and the action taken to recover monies owed.

Enforcement cases remain confidential and at no time will we divulge the details of complainants who have informed us of alleged planning breaches.

Generally, the information we hold will have been provided by you (on an application or enquiry form or when we communicate with you), but we may also hold information provided by third parties where this is relevant, ie complainants, Local Government Ombudsman, or the Planning Inspectorate for appeals.

We will only ask for personal data that is appropriate to enable us to deliver our services. In some cases, you can refuse to provide your details if you deem a request to be inappropriate. However, you should note that if this affects our ability to assess your application, the application may be refused.

Who your information may be shared with (internally and externally)

  • Council legal service
  • Judicial Agencies e.g. Courts, Planning Inspectorate
  • Application details (type of development, address, name of applicant) are routinely shared with other council departments to assist them with carrying out their statutory duties, these departments include; Local Land Charges; Building Control; Council Tax; Environmental Health; Highways; Street Naming and Numbering; Customer Services; Councillors; Corporate Anti-Fraud Team
  • Central Government for statutory returns
  • Details of planning applications and formal comments on planning applications, including names and addresses of individuals, are published online
  • We will sometimes need to share the information we have with other statutory bodies such as London Fire Brigade, Environment Agency and Historic

We make details of planning applications available online (as part of the statutory register) so that people and organisations can contribute their comments.

Comments

Comments may include material considerations, which we consider when determining planning applications. All comments provided are held on our system along with your contact information, if it has been provided.

In order to be transparent as a public authority we normally publish the full text of the comments you have provided and this full text is published on our public facing website. We will redact your name, address and email address; however, you should be careful not to provide any personal data or special categories about yourself in these comments which is capable of identifying you to anyone else. If you do so, you must be aware that these will be seen by the public at large.

If you wish to make comments providing any personal data or special categories data (previously called sensitive personal data) about yourself which is capable of identifying you then you should consider doing so only by using the alternative method of contacting us which is provided for on our website so that this information is not published to the public at large.

We will usually provide a summary of your comments, where they contain a material planning consideration, in both our delegated and committee reports as part of the decision making process. If the application is reported to committee, the Committee Members receive copies of all your comments in their background papers a week before the meeting.

Enforcement

We receive allegations of unlawful development that we investigate and decide whether or not to act. Allegations are a useful way for us to learn about potential breaches of planning control and we treat the personal details of the persons who make the allegation in confidence. These personal details are not made public. We are required by statute to make public any enforcement notices we serve. 

Appeals

The council receives planning and enforcement appeals. The appellant and/or their agents submit documents for these appeals. The documents include the appeal form that may contain personal details of the applicant and agent. Documents uploaded with the council's questionnaire may also contain personal data or special categories data; some of the third party comments are already redacted when received through the council's planning website, others are redacted by our internal admin team but some may still contain personal data or special categories data for example letters that are sent via PINs. These comments and comments previously made at application stage are forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate and the appellant and are not redacted, PINs do not make these documents public.

In addition, Barnet Council writes to third parties to notify them of the appeal. All of these documents are currently uploaded to the council's website as public information.

The consultations sent out to third parties advise the recipients to submit their comments either via Barnet’s Planning public access webpage or by writing to the Planning Inspectorate, the consultation letter includes the following paragraph:

The council has a statutory obligation under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to make the names and addresses of planning applicants available to the public as the information forms part of the Statutory Register for an application.  Planning comments (comments made in support or against an application) also form part of the Register. The register is online. You should be careful not to provide personal data or special categories data (previously called sensitive personal data) but if you do, you should be aware that the public will see it so you must only provide information which you are happy for the public at large to see.

If you supply personal data belonging to a third party, please ensure you have their permission to do so.  More detailed information about data protection and privacy matters is available at the Information Commissioner's Office.

Third parties are informed when telephoning the council that their comments will be sent onto the appellant and the agent via PINs.

Weekly list

Our weekly list of applications, along with agent and applicant’s details, are sent to a list of Councillors and any interested parties – weekly lists are also available on Barnet’s public access webpage.

Pre-application advice

Applications for pre-application advice are stored in our system. These are not published on our website, and are not part of the statutory register. 

Legislation that applies

The main piece of legislation is the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and amendments. There are also many smaller pieces of legislation and formal guidance that applies to our work.

How long we keep your information

Retention schedule

Information type

Retention period

Statutory register (eg application form, planning decisions, approved plans, legal agreements) –

Retained permanently

Supporting documents, reports - committee decisions 

Retained permanently

Representations, letters, general correspondence –

Retained for 5 years after decision is made

Planning Inspectorate Appeal decision

Retained permanently 

 

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