Coronavirus: Your questions answered
Last updated: 26 March 9.30am
This page is being monitored and added to throughout the day with answers to commonly asked questions.
You can continue to access Council services online: please help family members and neighbours to access services if necessary. If you have an urgent enquiry please phone our customer services team on 01403 215100.
What precautions are being taken by the council to prepare for a potential coronavirus outbreak?
Horsham District Council is working closely with Public Health England and the Department for Health & Social Care to respond to the national situation. The response to the coronavirus is being led by our health partners. We are working closely with a Strategic Co-ordination Group, and with our colleagues from across the region to protect staff and frontline services to the public.
Anyone who needs to self-isolate will be encouraged and supported to do so.
Our business continuity plans already prioritise essential services in the event of a major emergency. We will ensure that council resources are directed to maintaining services for those in most need.
Public venues, events and activities
Please visit our dedicated Coronavirus: Parks, leisure and venues page for the latest information about:
- parks and countryside sites
- Council-run events and activities
- Public venues, including Horsham Museum and The Capitol
Are there any plans to cancel public events or meetings?
Following the Government’s decision to ask public venues to shut, Horsham District Council’s office at Parkside has closed until further notice.
Council meetings that are going ahead will do so remotely. Details on individual meetings will be posted on our meetings calendar page
Food safety and food hygiene courses
All our training courses have been cancelled for the time being.
Can I get a refund on a Temporary Event Notice?
Unfortunately we are unable to issue refunds for Temporary Event Notices.
Supporting the elderly and vulnerable
We are very aware of the increased need to support vulnerable people across our communities, and the enormous response from people wanting to help in any way they can.
Horsham District Council are putting in place ways in which we can best support communities to ensure that the most vulnerable are kept safe and well during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. The best way to do this will be at the local level.
Find out more and get involved on our Coronavirus: Community support page
Can I still volunteer given the Government's latest advice?
Following the Government’s announcement on Monday 23 March, we should all only leave our homes for four reasons. One of these is to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. Read the full guidance on the government website.
Without your help, our most vulnerable people will struggle. If you are able to, please register with us to volunteer and help make essential deliveries to your elderly and vulnerable neighbours. If you are self-isolating, consider registering to help make friendly phone calls.
How will this affect the Community Link service, as this involves home visits?
The team have taken preventive measures to ensure continuous service.
Will Community Link still be able to do their home visits?
Yes – the community link team are continuing home visits.
Free parking to alleviate congestion and help key workers
Horsham District Council has introduced free parking in all Horsham District Council owned car parks to help Horsham residents park more safely, support key workers and avoid road congestion during the Coronavirus situation.
For residents who currently park on-street, within a Controlled Parking Zone, they now have the option to use our Horsham District Council owned car parks for free.
This arrangement will be in place until 22 April 2020 and will be reviewed as it becomes necessary under the current circumstances.
Dispensation notices to allow parking in any on-street bays
West Sussex County Council has also introduced a dispensation notice for £10 per vehicle which will be valid for 12 weeks, this is for people who park within a Controlled Parking Zone.
This dispensation notice is valid on any on-street bay, including pay and display bays and limited waiting bays, but not on yellow lines, taxi ranks, loading bays or disabled bays.
The same on-street dispensation notice will be available to NHS staff on production of ID at no cost. It is also valid for 12 weeks.
Any queries regarding the dispensation notice should be directed to West Sussex County Council on 0300 123 5000.
How to apply for the dispensation notice
To get the new dispensation notice, please contact Horsham District Council on 01403 215379 Option 1 or e-mail the parking team
Please include the following information in your email:
- Your Full name and address
- Vehicle registration number and make and model
- Contact telephone number (so that we can take payment)
- If you are applying for the free NHS dispensation notice, please attach a picture of your NHS ID
How do you plan to enforce safe parking if you have limited staff?
On-street parking enforcement will continue albeit with a strict focus on safety and ensuring the free movement of traffic, especially for the emergency services, carers and deliveries. People are strongly advised not to park on yellow lines, loading bays and clearways.
Civil Parking Enforcement officers have a key highway safety role in this - their duty is to enforce yellow lines/loading bays etc so that particular vehicles can still travel freely on the network and not have to contend with dangerously parked vehicles.
Parking season ticket holders
For current season ticket holders, or those who have pre-paid for their parking, Horsham District Council will extend their parking period accordingly.
Car park pay machines and touch screens
Car park pay machines are cleaned regularly, throughout the day, including the touch screens.
A way to avoid touching the pay machines would be to set up an online account. This payment method has no contact with an individual or machine and removes the requirement to queue for payment. Details of this and how to set up can be found at www.horshamparking.co.uk
Waste and recycling
Please visit our Coronavirus: Waste and recycling updates page for information about our waste and recycling service, including:
- Household bin collection information
- Household Waste Recycling Site information
- What to do with your waste if your household has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
Council Tax and benefits
Our Council Tax, Revenues and Benefits service is administered by LGSS. For up-to-date information on how the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is affecting Council Tax and Benefits services, please visit the following pages:
LGSS: Council Tax
LGSS: Local Housing Allowance
LGSS: Benefits and support
LGSS: Business rates
Local Housing Allowance Rates
The Government announced increases in the Local Housing Allowance Rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit Claimants on Monday 20 March. For further information, please visit the Local Housing Allowance page on the LGSS website.
Advice for businesses
The Government has set up a new website containing all the details of the schemes the Chancellor has announced to support businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
What can be done to support businesses/shops whose trade might suffer as a result of the virus?
The Chancellor has set out a series of measures to support businesses through the period of disruption caused by coronavirus, including:
- a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
- a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
- small business grant funding
- grant funding for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- a Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
Find out more on the government's support for businesses webpage
For business rates information, please visit the LGSS website.
Journey to Work
Journey to Work is still available to residents of the Horsham District that need employment support during this difficult time. However, support will be conducted remotely via telephone or email. Please visit the Journey to Work page to get in touch.
Following government guidance, all WISH clubs have been cancelled with immediate effect and until further notice.
If you need support, which we can provide remotely, please call 07783 222956 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about how Building Control services are affected, please visit the Coronavirus: Building Control service updates webpage.
Will planning application decisions be delayed?
At this moment in time there is no delay to decision making or to the Local Plan timeframes and it is business as usual. Most of our planning department can work effectively from home and most planning decisions can be made at officer level so we should be able to continue to operate our service as normal. However if there is a need to cancel public meetings this could impact on the timescales for decisions which need to be made by committee (about 5% of all decisions).
Will the Draft Local Plan Consultation (Regulation 18) be extended?
At this moment in time there has been no change to the Government’s requirements for Local Plan preparation. This includes a legal requirement to review Local Plans every 5 years. Although we will be discussing the possible impacts of the Covid -19 situation with the Government on Local Plan preparation, our current Local Plan will reach five years of age in November when our annual housing target will increase to 965 homes each year. It is therefore important that we continue to prepare the Local Plan to existing timeframes in order to meet our legal requirements.
Our Strategic Planning team will be continuing their work on preparing a new Local Plan for the Horsham District, and the Local Plan Consultation (Regulation 18) will continue as planned until the closing date of 30 March 2020. All our advertised consultation events were completed before social distancing measures became necessary, and our Local Plan documentation and exhibition materials are still able to view on our website. There is no change to the availability of officers in Strategic Planning to discuss queries or concerns about the consultation process by telephone or email. Copies of the Local Plan also remain available for purchase.
Duty Officer service
We are currently suspending a face to face duty officer service and customer contact in our reception area until further notice. We will keep the situation under review.
If you need to contact the duty officer, you can do so by telephone during the hours of 10AM – 1PM (Mon-Fri) on 01403 215187 where a member of the team will take a message and arrange a call back.