Guide to Submitting Planning Applications

The Department of Planning aims to process applications as expeditiously as possible, however the submission of incomplete applications or inaccurate information can result in significant delays or result in applications being rejected or refused.

This Guidance Note should be read in conjunction with the relevant DAP1 or DAP2 Vetting Checklist.

Minimum Requirements for All Planning Applications

All planning applications for development (“DAP1 applications”) and subdivision (“DAP2 applications”) must be submitted electronically by clicking here.

Applications must include all of the items listed below upon submission, in PDF format. Links to additional information can be found by clicking on any of the below items.

In addition to the above, an application may also be required to include the following:

If the form is signed by anyone other than the owner of the land, the application must include either:

  • a letter signed by the owner(s) of the land confirming that they are aware of the application; or
  • evidence from the applicant that they have taken all reasonable steps to obtain such a letter.

In the case of any application affecting Government-owned land or any application proposing development beyond the high water mark (i.e. “the Queen’s bottom”), the application must include written acknowledgement from the Estates section of the Ministry of Public Works confirming that they are aware of the application.

Where development is proposed within a setback to a boundary shared with an adjoining landowner. A template form can be downloaded here.

Where the discretion of the Development Applications Board (the “DAB”) is sought; see policy APC.10 of the Bermuda Plan 2018 for the criteria of what must be included in this document.

Typically required where development is proposed within, or within a setback to, a Conservation Base Zone or Conservation Area. In such cases, pre-consultation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is encouraged. See the Guide to Conservation Management Plans for further information.

Required for applications proposing to develop a vacant parcel of land for which there is no record of a valid registered plan of subdivision. The proof of separate title must be submitted in the form of a letter from a lawyer confirming that, in the opinion of the lawyer, the land is a bonafide lot. The following, or similar, wording will be accepted for the letter:

I, (insert name), barrister and attorney, have examined the title deeds and other relevant documents pertaining to (description of land – can be attached as a schedule). I am of the opinion that this parcel of land was, immediately before 27 June 1974, held by a single title and constitutes an existing lot for the purposes of section 41 of the Development and Planning Act 1974.

 

Required for all applications proposing development which does not fall within the Bermuda Residential Building Code 2014, including commercial buildings, residential applications that exceed 5,000 square feet in gross floor area per floor level and/or any building that exceeds 2 storeys or a grade to eave height of 24 feet. Drawings pertaining to all such applications must be forwarded to the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) by emailing fireprotection@gov.bm prior to the submission of the planning application. For submissions to Department of Planning, such planning applications must include:

  • drawings stamped by the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service;
  • a copy of a registered Fire Certificate Application Form; or
  • written confirmation from Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service that neither of the above are required for that particular planning application.

Retroactive Planning Applications

If retroactive planning permission is being sought for development which has already commenced and the applicant is of the view that he was not responsible for the breach of planning control or that, at the time of the development was being so carried out, he did not know and could not be reasonably be expected to have, known that the development was in breach of planning control, a letter to this effect must be included with the planning application. An additional fee will also be incurred for all retroactive planning applications. Please refer to the Guide to Retroactive Applications for further details.

Vetting of Applications and Fees

Once an application has been received by the Department, it will be given a reference number with a prefix of “P” for DAP1 applications and “S” for DAP2 applications and vetted against the relevant Vetting Checklist. An application will typically be vetted within three (3) business days from receipt.

If an application does not pass vetting, the Department will normally reject the application, in which case a new application will be required. In exceptional cases, the Department will request additional information from the applicant or agent, in which case a deadline of no more than fourteen (14) days for the receipt of all outstanding information will be set. The application will be rejected if this deadline is not met unless a valid reason is provided as to why the deadline cannot be achieved.

Once an application passes vetting, the Department will issue an invoice for the application fee within twenty four (24) hours from the completion of vetting. It is appreciated if payment can be made as soon as possible to allow the application to be processed more quickly and, at a maximum, within ten (10) business days of the invoice being issued; if payment is not received within this timescale, the application will be rejected.

The applicant will also be asked to display a site notice on or adjacent to the application site and provide photographic evidence of the displayed site notice within five (5) business days. If adequate evidence is not provided within this timeframe and/or the site notice has not been displayed in an appropriately publicly visible location, the application may be rejected.

N.B. Please also note that, if payment is made and the application is then rejected for any reason or an overpayment is made, the fee will not be refunded.

Following receipt of the fee and evidence that the site notice has been appropriately displayed, the application will be advertised in the online Official Gazette; further details on the publicity of applications can be found here.

Once the application has been advertised, it will be assigned to a planner for assessment and, ultimately, referred to either the Director of Planning or the Development Applications Board for determination. You can track the progress of an application via the Citizen Self Service portal which includes details such as the current status of the application and the officer to whom the application has been assigned. Further details on how planning applications are decided can be found here.

Letters of objection and/or representation should be emailed to planningfrontdesk@gov.bm referencing the PLAN or SUB number in the subject line.

Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building, 5th Floor, 58 Court Street Hamilton, HM12, Bermuda

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Please be advised that the Dept of Planning is currently experiencing staffing shortages and asks customers to bear with us as we endeavour to deliver our services.