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The Planning Manager introduced a report that sought the Committee’s agreement to adopt the draft Local Planning Authority Enforcement Plan as at Appendix 1 to the report.
It was good practice for the Council to have a local enforcement plan to set out how the authority would investigate and tackle reported breaches of planning control in a consistent, fair and proportionate way. Members welcomed the plan overall and asked for clarification about the circumstances in which enforcement action would be taken. The Planning Manager stated that planning enforcement was a discretionary activity and the Council had to be proportionate in its approach. It was generally seek to resolve issues through mediation in the first instance and take enforcement action only where there was demonstrable harm and it was in the public interest to pursue the matter. A Member highlighted the reported levels of enforcement appeared to be low and asked whether the available resources were a factor. It was responded that the number of enforcement notices was not the sole indicator of successful outcomes as mediation and other actions could resolve issues. The Council now had adequate resources in place with two officers and the funding available for a third to focus on the issue of short term lets and support the wider work of the team.
The Committee were supportive of the policy, however it was decided that all Members should have the opportunity to comment on the plan. After discussion, it was agreed that the plan be agreed in principle, circulated to all councillors for comment and any relevant points be incorporated under the delegation given to the Planning Manager. If any substantive issues were raised the Planning Manager would consult with the Chair to decide whether the plan needed to come back to the Committee for approval.
(a) That the Local Enforcement Plan be adopted for enforcement purposes, subject to all councillors being given the opportunity to comment. If any substantive issues were raised the Planning Manager would consult with the Chair to decide if the plan needed to come back to the Committee for approval.
(b) That delegated authority be given to the Planning Manager to modify the plan to reflect any changes in legislation, policy and comments from Members as part of the above consultation; and
(c) That the Local Enforcement Plan be published on the Council website.
(Councillor Smith left the meeting)