More help for residents concerned about planning lapses

Residents concerned about possible planning failures in their neighborhood will soon have access to updated advice, information and practical help.

New city application plan

We are releasing our new local planning application plan for the city later this month. The plan aims to help residents find information about potential planning failures as well as guidance on when and how to request an investigation.

The plan also defines the board’s powers and procedures, including actions that can be taken to resolve issues, possible outcomes, and what the enforcement team can and cannot do.

Councilors approved the plan at a meeting of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee on September 15.

Investigate complaints

As the local planning authority, we have a duty to investigate complaints, determine whether planning failures have occurred and, if so, take enforcement action.

Council Planning Enforcement Officers investigate:

  • planning control failures
  • unauthorized work on listed buildings
  • unauthorized advertisements
  • messy grounds and poorly maintained buildings

When making decisions, officers are guided by the National Planning Practice Guidance as well as the local enforcement plan.

Hundreds of requests

Every year, our administrators receive hundreds of complaints about potential planning failures and requests for investigation.

However, many of them are not planning or at a stage where they could take action. These include:

  • work that has not started
  • rumors that work will take place
  • legal disputes unrelated to a planning violation, including party wall issues, land ownership and boundary disputes
  • high hedges
  • work on trees not associated with a planning violation

Officers use both case law and appeal decisions to help decide if development has taken place and if planning permission is required.

No failure to plan

A large proportion of the cases reviewed by officers result in a decision that there is no failure to plan. For instance:

  • the work does not require a building permit / consent
  • the building permit and other necessary authorizations have been granted by law
  • the work does not deviate from the approved plans
  • development is immune to action
  • the building permit granted does not control the progress of the construction. Major developments, in general, are subject to conditions requiring Construction Environmental Management Plans (CEMPS) to be agreed before work begins.

In many cases planning permission is not required as national rules classify the works as permitted development.

In cases where development has taken place and planning permission is required, or where planning permission is granted and conditions are not met, officers should determine whether enforcement action is required. justified.

If not, no further action will be taken.

Reduce complaints

By providing clear advice and guidance under the new enforcement plan, including information on how to check whether planning permission or classified planning permission has been granted or is required, and the circumstances in what action will be taken, officers hope to reduce the number of such requests.

This will free up more time to prioritize requests and resolve scheduling violations that cause damage.

Developer tips

The enforcement plan also gives residents information on how their requests will be handled and prioritized, as well as what steps they can take to resolve issues themselves. There is also advice for residents and developers who may have committed a planning breach on what they should do to fix the problem.

Many cases are resolved through negotiation or an agreement to perform repair work.

Avoid disputes

Councilor Martin Osborne, Co-Chair of the TECC Committee said:

“Whether it’s minor changes to our home or a major development, planning applications and building regulations directly affect the lives of so many residents and business owners.

“It is natural that new building activity can cause neighbors concern, and this new policy aims to help owners and developers avoid conflicts and understand what council officers can and cannot do.

“Decisions taken by officers are made within the framework of national laws, rules and guidelines. Like all local authorities, we are often bound by national policy and regulations within which we must operate.

“We hope this new policy will help to avoid many other common misunderstandings and make clear how we will act in the event of major breaches of planning regulations.”

About Ethel Nester

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