Agenda item

Planning Enforcement Review - Report back by the Planning Enforcement Working Party

Report to follow.


Councillor Paul Moore, Chair of the Planning Enforcement Working party introduced the item and gave a feedback report to the Panel. The Panel was asked to either adopt the recommendations in the working party report or adopt an alternative approach to the review.


Members made comments and asked questions as follows:


  • The recommendations were a good idea;
  • The council could second a planning officer to increase the numbers on the planning enforcement team;
  • What was the timeline for finalising the recommendations?
  • Were there any opportunities using enforcement activities for making savings or generating income?
  • How would the council create incentives for developers to comply with palling policies in the first place without creating the need for retrospective planning applications?
  • Could some of the enforcement work be subcontracted?
  • How was the monitoring of development conditions that included planting of trees and creating play areas in new development, particularly with new large development coming up?
  • Could the council set its own local fees for planning enforcement?
  • How long should it take before the Section 106 fund is used?
  • If the S106 fund was identified for particular sites, how could councillors monitor the use of this fund?
  • Although the department was working with a small enforcement team, they were doing a great job;
  • On the Planning Enforcement Portal, there were a number of long-standing planning applications that included the caravan park and a burger bar. These two have generated a number of emails to councillors from residents. How would the department inform the public about progress regarding these applications?


Iain Livingstone, Planning Applications Manager responded as follows:


  • The OSP recommendations would add more information to the ongoing review;
  • The review would also be looking at additional resources that be made available to the department;
  • The option of apprentices would be considered;
  • The review would be for a six months period and was expected to be concluded by year end;
  • The new Protocol would be recommended to Full Council for adoption;
  • Officer could bring back a summary of the review outcome to the Panel meeting later in the year, (23 November 2021);
  • The Planning Enforcement team could use the criminal act to raise generate income, but that income would be shared with the government;
  • In order to adequately monitor development work, there would be a need for additional resources mainly the legal resources;


  • There were no punitive measures for retrospective planning applications;
  • Retrospective planning was permitted within the current national planning legislation;
  • The department has often approached estate agents to provide change of use advice to assist with minimising the number of retrospective planning applications;
  • There was a need to agree on an approach for inter departmental working to enhance the work of planning enforcement;
  • Adherence to living conditions and the environment were key priority areas for planning enforcement;
  • Compliance with conditions had generated the most complaints;
  • The setting of fees was done at the national level;
  • Use of S106 was dependent on the agreement in place. However most such agreements had a 5 year period within with to use the funds;
  • Open Spaces team would be involved and the council would usually go to tender and within two years the works would be completed;
  • Councillor would need to check with the Planning Applications Manager regarding the monitoring of S106 funds;
  • Planning applications were published in such a way that the public would log in and check if there already was a complaint about the application;
  • With regards to retrospective planning, often the department would keep enforcement in abeyance until the retrospective planning had been submitted.


After the debate Councillor Paul Moore proposed, Councillor Fellows seconded and Members agreed that the Panel approve the following recommendations from the Planning Enforcement Review Working Party and further agreed to forward them for consideration to Cabinet as part of the ongoing review of the Council’s planning enforcement protocol. These are that:


a.  Investigations be carried out to determine the potential utility of a planning enforcement portal on the council’s website to provide updates to members of the public and elected members on current cases, as well as increasing the availability of information about the Enforcement process for the public;


b.  A review be conducted to identify how the council could come up with a more effective system of prioritising planning enforcement cases;


c.  A review be conducted to determine how best to improve communication between the council and complainants regarding planning enforcement cases being handled by the council;


d.  Investigations be carried out to determine how best the council could include proactive work in the planning enforcement protocol.

Supporting documents: