Professional planners have urged the House of Lords to strengthen and clarify the enforcement aspects of the Localism Bill, due its second reading in the Upper Chamber on 7 June.
That call has come from the Royal Town Planning Institute which has concerns about two of the clauses in question and has proposed a new clause on notification of development. The institute’s position has been informed by the views of the National Association for Planning Enforcement (NAPE).
Trudi Elliott, chief executive of the RTPI, said: “The Government’s intentions behind the clauses dealing with enforcement are worthy but further work is needed if the Bill is to meet the Government’s aspirations.
“The RTPI believes that there are more effective ways to shorten the time it takes to remove unauthorised development, and suggests that guidance is much-needed in respect of time limits for enforcing concealed breaches of planning control.
“We also suggest that there’s a golden opportunity here for legislators to embed best practice in statute in respect of commencement of development, which will enable councils to nip problems in the bud rather than having costly and lengthy remedies following breaches of approved plans.”
The institute has suggested that any developer who has carried out unauthorised development should be compelled to submit a retrospective planning application and be liable to a fixed penalty notice for double the appropriate fee if they fail to do so.
The RTPI has made the case for a new clause, one which introduces a notice of commencement of development in order that checks can be made on pre-commencement conditions and that development is proceeding in accordance with approved plans.
2 June 2011