Planning Enforcement Plan – Review and Update
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth proposed the recommendation made by the Executive, as referred to in the Executive report of 19 February 2021, to adopt the Planning Enforcement Plan. Councillor Goodeve confirmed that the report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and a review would be conducted into the plan after one year. Councillor Page seconded the recommendation.
Councillor Goldspink thanked officers for their work on the report and confirmed that the Liberal Democrat group were happy to support the recommendations.
The motion to support the recommendations having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – that the Planning Enforcement Plan 2021, be adopted.
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth submitted a report on the updated Planning Enforcement Plan 2021. The report sets out the high level of complaints, staff resources and the high level of cases submitted to the team. The Executive Member explained the current process in the Enforcement Team where every reported case requires a site visit. The new plan proposes a desktop assessment to identify those cases where there has been no breach of planning conditions or minor breaches. A record of decisions will still be kept and the cases where there has been a breach will be categorised into three priorities.
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth said the report had been well received by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee but concern was expressed about staff resources. The Committee suggested a review of the plan in a year’s time which has been added into the report.
The Executive Member said whilst there has been no formal consultation, some parish councils have provided some comments which have been noted by the team and officers will provide them with a response.
Councillor Page highlighted concerns about the health and wellbeing of the Enforcement Team and felt the report and its recommendations didn’t go far enough to address this.
Councillor Goodeve understood the pressures within the team and the new triage process should improve the situation alongside the plan review in a year’s time.
The Head of Planning added that the new approach will need to be tested to understand the perfect match between level of cases and level of resources in the team. The health and wellbeing of staff will be kept under constant review.
Councillor Curtis asked what
amendments had been made, if any, following the comments from the
Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Councillor Goodeve said the comments from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee have led to the addition of a review next year.
Councillor Goodeve proposed and Councillor Cutting seconded a motion supporting the recommendation in the report. On being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – To recommend to Council
That the Planning Enforcement Plan 2021, as detailed at Appendix 1 to this report, be adopted.
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth submitted a report that set out the approach to the updated Planning Enforcement Plan 2021. The Head of Planning and Building Control said that the current plan was last updated in 2016. The updated plan was attached as an Appendix. Members were advised that the approach and priorities to handling enforcement cases needed to be updated.
The Committee was advised that the level of enforcement complaints were high and the Head of Planning and Building Control explained that a majority of enforcement investigations did not result in any further action being taken. She explained the reasons for this and said that all enforcement reports were investigated.
The Head of Planning and Building Control stated that the new plan proposed a triage approach be undertaken before a file was opened for further investigation. She said that this would help Officers identify cases that did not constitute a breach of planning control or were really minor cases. This triage approach would enable Officers to better manage the number of cases and respond quickly based on priorities depending on the level of breach.
The Head of Planning and Building Control said that Officers had recognised that the current system needed to improve and a new approach was needed to improve the overall effectiveness of the planning enforcement service.
Councillor Curtis asked how long the planning enforcement service had been reliant on a high proportion of agency staff. He asked a number of questions relating to the numbers of agency staff and the hours they worked and also how much more expensive they were than non-agency staff.
The Head of Planning and Building Control said that within the last 2 years, Officers had looked at extra resources to assist the enforcement team due to the high number of cases. She said that this had supported recruitment that had taken place and had ensured a wider breadth of experience within the planning enforcement service.
The Service Manager (Development Management) said that the planning enforcement service had been working with a number of extra staff throughout 2020. He said that it was very difficult to quantify cost because although agency workers were more expensive, there were no overheads. Members were advised that some agency staff were more expensive than others and the situation was purely one of workload.
The Head of Planning and Building Control said that the planning service had undergone restructuring in previous years on the operational side but that it was necessary to review it from a planning enforcement viewpoint including resources and the current difficulties in the planning sector in terms of experience at a certain level.
The Head of Planning and Building Control said that she was looking to fill a number of vacant posts and as part of that process,she wanted to make sure that Development Management was a flexible service. She said that she wanted to have experienced “rounded” planners and enforcement Officers that could turn their hand to dealing with ... view the full minutes text for item 332