From a new conservatory for a home to a new retail development, customers in North Devon are being asked to make sure their planning applications are filled out correctly the first time round. Every year, North Devon Council deals with around 2,000 appli

From a new conservatory for a home to a new retail development, customers in North Devon are being asked to make sure their planning applications are filled out correctly the first time round.Every year, North Devon Council deals with around 2,000 applications across the district. However, out of those around a third are incomplete, meaning officers have to ask for more information, slowing the whole process down. Portfolio Holder for Community and Spatial Planning, Councillor Des Brailey, said: "We understand that customers want their applications dealt with quickly, which is why we are eager to address the issue by looking at how we can improve things our end."However, to help speed things up even more, we are asking customers and their agents to double check their forms, to make sure they're filled out correctly. That way, we can get to work on them straight away, to keep our response times as short as possible."To help deal with invalid applications, the council is introducing a number of new measures. These include: * simplifying relevant documents to ensure they are clear and concise;* informing customers and agents (their solicitors or architects) of incomplete forms and enabling them to submit the missing information back via e-mail, rather than by letter;* holding meetings with applicants so they understand all the criteria their application will need to meet;* looking into the possibility of setting up a scheme, where the Council identifies planning agents on their website, who meet and exceed a high standard of work.Customers are also being reminded they can phone the Council if they have a planning enquiry (01271 388288). You can also pop in to the Civic Centre on North Walk, Barnstaple, or visit the website www.northdevon.gov.uk/planning for more information.