Local planning enforcement plan
Our existing practices have sought to achieve the principles of good enforcement practice. The following standards reflect the overarching principles we have adopted regarding inspecting and, if appropriate, pursuing enforcement action. These five standards are set out in the regulators code.
Regulators should carry out their activities in a way that supports those they regulate to comply and grow
The purpose of the planning enforcement process is not to punish those who find themselves working outside of the planning framework and the policies of the development plan but to ensure inappropriate development does not cause harm. We will continue to work with individuals and businesses in a manner that assists people in understanding the planning systems and how they can best meet their aspirations.
Regulators should provide simple and straightforward ways to engage with those they regulate and hear their views
We aim to provide information and advice in plain language on the rules and adhere to government guidance. We aim to publish on the website supporting technical detail and links to government guidance. We will endeavour to keep as much as possible in the public domain whilst protecting confidentiality of those who are reporting concerns and possible breaches of the regulations or planning conditions.
Regulators should base their regulatory activities on risk
We endeavour to deal with each case on a priority basis following initial investigation to establish the facts and refer to records and relevant policies. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, we will always seek to afford a contravener the opportunity of remedying the breach of planning control without formal action. In considering whether formal action is expedient in planning terms, we will have regard to negotiations, any under takings given, the history and whether time limits are approaching which would confer immunity on unlawful development.
In prioritising our cases, consideration will be given to the risk of harm that may arise in the processing phase. Where there is a potential for irreversible damage to occur to the environment for example, enforcement action will be given the highest priority.
Regulators should share information about compliance And risk
We will work closely with other enforcement organisations to secure effective regulation of the planning system, protect the environment and amenity. Consideration will always be given to the nature of the information to be shared in these cases to ensure confidentiality and data security is maintained.
We endeavour to manage enforcement cases with maximum efficiency and standards procedures, making the best use of technology and electronic communication. There are standard documents in the toolkit with government guidance updated from time to time for these various procedures. Where discretion is applied against standards, we will adhere to the national and local plan policies to achieve as far as possible, a fair and equitable outcome.
Regulators should ensure clear information, guidance and advice is available to help those they regulate meet their responsibilities to comply
We aim to be polite but firm with the person/peoples that are alleged to be in breach of planning or environment controls. We will meet when requested, both before and during enforcement actions, to try and achieve a satisfactory outcome and will keep complainants and councillors informed of key stages in the process.
We already provide significant amounts of information on our website about the planning process and enforcement and we will continue to expand on this resource over time.
Dealing with complaints
In addition to working in accordance with the five criteria set out in the regulator's guide, we also take complaints about the operation of the enforcement service seriously. Opportunity exists for complaints to be made about the operation of the enforcement through our complaints procedure. Feedback from this will be used to inform future actions and improve the way in which we deliver this service.