Resolutions: It was agreed that the Executive Leadership Team Adopt the Draft WNC Local Enforcement Plan
Reason for Resolutions:
A. It outlined a consistent approach to Planning Enforcement across West Northants.
B. It was written in a style that easy is for the public to read and understand.
C. It identified clear targets and timeframes for dealing with Planning Enforcement cases.
We can either carry on as we are with three separate enforcement plans in place, or we can adopt a new, unified approach across West Northamptonshire.
At the Chairman’s invitation Councillor Rebecca Breese presented the report, copies of which had been previously circulated. Cabinet was informed that each sovereign authority had had its own plan, one was now needed for WNC to bring all the authorities together. The draft had been produced by officers from all local authorities and had been written in a specific style in order to avoid jargon.
Councillors made the following comments.
· Concern was raised about the lack of staff in planning. It was queried how officers would have the time to deal with breaches over the whole of Northants when they were short staffed.
· There had been much emphasis on new builds while some older terraced houses were vacant, could these houses not be renovated and used.
· It was felt that certain parts of the plan could potentially give developers the opportunity to exploit the situation that the council finds itself in.
· It was asked how residents could be sure that any breaches would be investigated.
The Executive Director of Place & Economy advised that staffing levels were being looked at and the policy presented to Cabinet reflected the legislature and best practice that was available at the time.