Laying down the law

A recently published table shows that Buckinghamshire Council is the second most active outside London and the seventh most active nationally in issuing planning enforcement notices.

The table, produced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, monitors and ranks councils by the number of planning enforcement notices they issue.

It reveals that some areas are more active than others in issuing legal notices for contravention of planning rules and that 35 councils issued no notices at all.

A planning enforcement notice is a legal document which is issued when there has been a breach of planning control that cannot be resolved through negotiation and is so serious that it requires formal action.

It sets out what steps need to be taken to resolve the breach. In 2021 the council team investigated 1,675 new cases and issued 65 planning enforcement notices.

In the past year, breaches in Bucks have included unauthorised residential extensions, changes of use, untidy land, airport parking and illegal works to listed buildings.

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration said: ‘Our planning process helps to ensure that development meets certain criteria and that decisions around planning applications are considered in the context of both national and local planning policies.

‘Where we find people are bypassing these, we investigate and if someone has gone against the planning rules with a breach, we take steps to get it resolved.

‘Our ‘no nonsense’ track record shows that we can and do take action to ensure that people conform to planning rules and, where we need to go further with legal action we have a good success rate in the courts.’

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