2020 was a year like no other.  This has certainly been true with regards to the PAS Advice Service, which proved to be our busiest year ever.  We have seen a huge increase in enquiries to our Advice Service, perhaps not the first place you would think of as being affected by Coronavirus.  However, as people have had to find ways of coping with and adjusting to its impact, one of the results has been that more people have approached PAS for support and advice around a range of planning concerns.

For some, this has meant that they are cycling more, either for exercise, or because of a lack of or preference not to use public transport.  They need secure space for their bikes and want clarification on the regulations around building sheds/storage.  Others have lost their jobs and have decided to try starting a new business themselves.

The PAS Advice Service is open to all first business start-ups under 18 months of establishment.  Many people are now working from home, and are looking to create extra space for an office, or are worried that working from home means they will need to apply for a change of use to their residence.  Our volunteers can clearly explain what is and is not permitted in this type of enquiry.  Others are preparing further ahead – ‘future-proofing’ their home in case of the need for shielding or self-isolating, or they may be wanting family to stay with them in the event of further lockdowns, which means they are looking into building extensions and creating extra space.  Again, our team are on hand to offer advice and guidance on what is required to get this type of project moving.

2021 will no doubt bring new challenges and maybe even issues that we may not have anticipated yet, but our Advice Service is prepared and ready, and eagerly awaiting the new challenges it will bring.

Deanne Cullen, Advice Service Manager – Email: deanne@pas.org.uk