FRESH APPROACH TO ENFORCING PLANNING RULES (19 December, 2014)
A NEW APPROACH to taking action when planning rules are flouted has been agreed by Cambridge City Council.
While there are exceptions to the rule, planning law usually requires households and businesses to obtain council approval before making alterations and improvements to their properties.
If approval is not obtained, when it should have been, the council sometimes needs to issue a formal enforcement notice. This requires the owner to take appropriate action.
The council’s new planning enforcement policy, which has been approved by Planning Committee, sets out what people should expect if they choose to ignore planning guidelines and legislation.
It sets out the legal background before describing different types of breaches that may lead to enforcement. It explains how complaints can be made and how they will be prioritised and also those issues that are not covered by planning law.
The policy also describes some of the ways in which enforcement action may be taken such as enforcement notices, injunctions and prosecutions.
Cllr Kevin Blencowe, Vice-chair of Planning Committee, said: “It’s important for residents and businesses to know the rules when they are thinking of making improvements or other changes to their properties.
“The council doesn’t want to be heavy-handed but planning rules are founded in law and unauthorised developments can harm neighbourhoods and the city as a whole. A breach of planning law can, in some circumstances, be a criminal offence.
“That’s why we have produced a policy that will ensure we are applying our enforcement fairly and consistently. It’s also a way of being open and clear with people about what they can expect from the council.”
The new policy can be found at www.cambridge.gov.uk/planning-enforcement