Committee Report NSC



North Somerset Council


REPORT TO THE Planning and Regulatory Committee


Date of Meeting: 25 july 2012


Subject of Report: local enforcement plan


Town or parish: all


Officer/Member presenting: head of development management


Key Decision: no





The amended Local Enforcement Plan set out in Appendix A and the Advertising Protocol in Appendix B are ADOPTED for the management of enforcement work.


1.                Summary of Report


An enforcement policy (or Local Enforcement Plan) is required to guide the priorities for enforcement action. An enforcement policy was first agreed in 2003 and was updated in 2006 following approval by the Planning and Regulatory Committee.


Following various recent organisational and operational changes it is necessary to update the enforcement policy and re-title it as a Local Enforcement Plan to accord with guidance set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The area committees have been consulted on the proposed changes and their responses are summarised in the report. As a result of this consultation process, some further amendments have been made to the Local Enforcement Plan which is attached at Appendix A.


2.                Policy


Government guidance is given in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Government Circular 10/97 “Enforcing Planning Control”. Effective enforcement action is required to give force to the application of Council planning decisions and the planning policies.


3.                Details


The 25 April 2012 report to the Planning and Regulatory Committee outlined the background to the Local Enforcement Plan, the organisation and resources allocated to the Enforcement and Delivery Team, the type of cases investigated and the need for the plan as a tool to manage the enforcement workload. At the April meeting, the committee agreed to consult the Area Committees on the updated Local Enforcement Plan. All 3 committees agreed the principle of the updated plan but made various comments as follows:






Comments made by


Officer response

North Area


No objections to the proposed updated policy

Should unauthorised development that has a detrimental impact on highway safety should be re-categorised as high priority?


This is a matter of judgement depending on the level of harm involved. All cases are kept under review and the priority level may change following a site visit or on receipt of further information.



Is there is a better way for members and Town and Parish Councils to be kept updated with ongoing enforcement cases and performance information?


It is intended that a list of current breaches be provided on a regular basis to members and Town and Parish Councils. Performance management information on enforcement is reported to P&R committee on a quarterly basis.

Central Area


No objections but made the following observations

Greater reference to Town and Parish Councils within the Enforcement Plan would help underline the significance of their role in enforcement.

Additional reference has been made to the role of Town and Parish Councils in the final draft of the plan.



Could the wording of section 4 to be amended to say that enforcement action would not be initiated for retrospective applications where it was ‘possible’ that permission might be granted.

Noted and the appropriate change is included in the updated plan.



Loss of view to be added to the list of non-planning considerations.

Noted and the appropriate change is included in the updated plan.

South Area


No objections but made the following observations

Queried the availability of information on enforcement matters. Further updates would be helpful.


It is intended that a list of current enforcement cases be provided on a regular basis together with an update on progress. Members are currently provided with a weekly list of enforcement cases.



How is it determined that enforcement action should be taken?


The key issue will be whether the breach unacceptably affects public amenity. In reaching a decision, regard will be had to the development plan and any other material considerations. Policies 4 to 11 of the Local Enforcement Plan provide more detailed guidance on the decision making process.





The Area Committees appear broadly satisfied with the updated Local Enforcement Plan. Several issues were raised which have been addressed and where appropriate changes have been made. The final draft of the plan, which is recommended for adoption by this committee is attached at Appendix A.


4.                Consultation


The Area Committees have been consulted on the updated Local Enforcement Plan. Feedback from the committees has been noted and acted upon.


5.                Financial Implications


The work is undertaken within existing resources.


6.                RISK MANAGEMENT


Complaints and actions are prioritised according to risk. Risk assessments are carried out on a case by case basis as and when required.


7.                Equality Implications


Enforcement action will be proportionate to the breach of planning control and is subject to an expediency assessment. Consideration to the Human Rights Act 1998 is given during enforcement investigations.


8.                Corporate Implications


The Delivery and Enforcement team plays a role in meeting a number of corporate aims and performance indicators.


9.                Options considered


Continuing with the existing agreed enforcement policy.




Chris Nolan – Delivery and Enforcement Service Manager. Tel 01934 426938

E-mail –


Background Papers


The documents referred to in the report.