So far 2014 has been very busy for the Planning Department’s enforcement officers. In fact it’s a record-breaking year for notices issued and we’ve only just passed Bonfire Night!
I was reliably informed that, before this year, we would typically issue about 35 notices in a twelve month period. Now it has rocketed to an astonishing 94 and counting. So what’s going on?
Well, unfortunately far too many developers seem to be ignoring the conditions attached to their planning permissions. To help tackle this we have employed additional enforcement officers on the ground – so that helps, but the reality is if developers stuck to the conditions set down when planning permission is given then we’d all be better off.
The reason is that we live in a small, densely populated, part of a busy city. It is understood that people will want to build or remodel their homes. But what has to be equally understood is that planners and Councillors on the planning committee need to make sure that disturbance to neighbours, from what can be very disruptive building projects, is kept to a minimum. We do this in a number of ways. By controlling the hours when noisy work can be carried out or by insisting that traffic from a construction site, be it a major housing development or a single residential basement extension, follows agreed routes to and from the works.
Clearly some people obtained their planning permission and, once work started on their projects, have chosen to ignore the conditions the Council imposed and the reasons why they were put there. Well, the message couldn’t be clearer. Our enforcement officers are vigilant and they will make sure that conditions are followed. After all, a deal is a deal.