Environmental protection - development advice

Check out this page for advice on environmental protection during development pre-planning.

As part of our environmental protection role, the council acts as a consultee on planning applications to try and reduce disruption to nearby residents from new development.

Applications can be made for new constructions, or for a new or additional use on an existing building.
Some examples of what will be considered on an application:
  • noise, vibration and dust during construction of the proposed development
  • noise or vibration from operation of the proposed development
  • noise or vibration from fixed plant e.g. ventilation systems
  • sound insulation
  • noise related to the proposed development e.g. because of increased traffic
  • noise from external sources affecting the proposed development
  • contaminated land - an application cannot be accepted if the contamination makes the development uneconomic
  • other statutory nuisances e.g. odour and light
  • air quality issues
For more information, please see the webpages for: Please click here for guidance on pre-applications and for more information on the planning application process - please click here
This guidance helps to ensure there is adequate provision of customer toilets in catering premises in Northumberland.

There is no national standard for the provision of toilet facilities in small-scale catering premises, but the council may require toilets to be offered.

This guidance contains standards to ensure there is consistency in toilet provision in premises where the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 applies.

Where existing toilet provisions are below standard, the operator of the premises will be expected to upgrade toilet provisions at the earliest opportunity, for example as part of planned refurbishment. 

Where no refurbishment is planned, an operator will be encouraged to apply for building regulation approval for additional facilities within 18 months of being informed of the deficiency and to meet the standard within a further 18 months.

In all cases, a lobby must be provided between toilet facilities and any room where open food is handled.
These premises must provide separate, sanitary accommodation, including hand washing facilities for both male and female customers, within the premises in accordance with BS6465.

In the case of premises with fewer than 50 seats for customers, the standard required is one WC with wash hand basin per gender.

Advice should be sought from the building control section regarding the provision of sanitary accommodation and the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Where the customers are not 50% male and 50% female, the number of facilities required may be varied accordingly.
Where there are less than 25 seats, and the physical dimensions are such that it would be impossible to house separate toilets for each sex, the minimum standard required is one unisex WC, plus hand wash basin, to be accessible to all customers, including disabled persons.
It is recognised that one unisex WC, plus hand basin, may not be possible in very small premises. The below are exceptional circumstances when it is acceptable for no toilet provision for customers to be made:
  • The physical dimensions make it difficult to house toilets and provide space for customers.
  • The main use of the premises is predominantly retail or takeaway, with the provision of ancillary seating e.g. a sandwich or coffee bar.
Where the owner of the business can demonstrate the standards required cannot be met due to planning restrictions, e.g. in a listed building, then an application can be made to the public protection service for consideration of a relaxation of these standards.

Each case shall be considered on its own merits and assessed in relation to the long-term objectives of this operating guidance.
Separate provision shall be made for staff for their exclusive use, unless fewer than 50 seats are provided for customers when separate provision is encouraged.
Toilet provision will be checked in the following ways:
  • in the course of routine food hygiene or other inspection of the premises
  • as a result of a complaint from a member of the public
  • as part of a specific monitoring exercise
Where current toilet provisions fall below the standard in this policy, the public protection service may serve a statutory notice requiring adequate provision to meet the standard in the timescale stated above. 

Failure to comply with a statutory notice will be dealt with in accordance with the council’s enforcement policy.
All facilities must be accessible from within the business and be under the control of the management of the business. Public access through a kitchen or food preparation area is not acceptable. 

The provision of sanitary accommodation should take into account the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Where any alterations or new construction is proposed to a building, advice should be sought from the building control section of the public protection department.
The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 empowers local authorities to require sanitary facilities, including wash hand basins with hot and cold water, to be made available for the use of the public in ‘relevant places'.

‘Relevant places’ are defined in the act and include:
  • places used for entertainment, exhibitions or sporting events
  • places used for the sale of food or drink to members of the public for consumption at the place
  • a betting office
The standard of provision required can be determined by reference to the appropriate British Standard (BS6465, Part 1:1994) but this does not apply to catering premises providing fewer than 50 seats for customers.
Get in touch with the council if you have any pollution issues you think we can assist with.