Mid Devon District Council to consult on Local Enforcement Plan

Posted on: 7 March 2017

Mid Devon District Council is consulting on the Local Enforcement Plan from 13   March until 2 May 2017.  The Local Enforcement Plan will set the framework for planning enforcement activity in Mid Devon.

Mid Devon District Council has responsibility for the investigation of reported breaches of planning control. Unauthorised development can be detrimental to the local environment and be a source of social tension. Failure to enforce planning conditions or address unauthorised development can reduce the effectiveness of a Local Planning Authority and undermine public confidence in the planning system.  The operation of the Planning System and its enforcement will by its nature often involve making difficult decisions that will not be universally supported within the community.

Policy DM31 of the Mid Devon Local Plan (MDLP) which was adopted in October 2013, states;

The Council will investigate unauthorised development, acting proportionately to the scale of the suspected breach of planning control. Enforcement action will be taken where it is appropriate to do so and in the public interest.

The MDLP, in paragraph 6.3 clarifies the need for a Local Enforcement Plan to set out the Council’s approach to enforcement and states it will include timescales for action and detail on how the Council will respond to suspected breaches of planning control.

The Local Enforcement Plan sets out the Council’s planning enforcement framework, defines what does and what does not constitute a breach of planning control, how reported breaches will be investigated and the procedures for commencing formal planning enforcement action. It sets out new performance targets and clearly indicates the priority given in terms of high, medium and low to the investigation of differing breaches of planning control and the response time that can be expected. This is considered important in order to prioritise resources and manage expectations.

Local Planning Authorities are expected to operate in a reasonable way, in accordance with statutory requirements and Government guidance. There is an expectation that the Council will be able to justify its decision making.  Planning enforcement is a statutory function of local government although the power to take formal action is discretionary. The Council as Local Planning Authority has responsibility for the investigation of reported breaches of planning control.

This Local Enforcement Plan has been developed in accordance with Government advice contained in the National Planning Policy Framework (March 2012) which was issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Paragraph 207 states;

 Effective enforcement is important as a means of maintaining public confidence in the planning system. Enforcement action is discretionary, and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control. Local planning authorities should consider publishing a local enforcement plan to manage enforcement proactively, in a way that is appropriate to their area. This should set out how they will monitor the implementation of planning permissions, investigate alleged cases of unauthorised development and take action where it is appropriate to do so.”

Please use the link in order to read the Local Enforcement Plan.  A paper copy will be available at the Phoenix House reception.  Please submit comments about the Local Enforcement Plan via email to devcon@middevon.gov.uk

or via post to:

Local Enforcement Plan Consultation
Development Management
Mid Devon District Council
Phoenix House
Phoenix Lane
EX16 6PP

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Posted in: Planning