Agenda and minutes

Performance and Finance Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 5th January, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtually - Public Meeting. View directions

Contact: Katharine Simpson  Senior Democratic Services Officer

No. Item


Surrey Heath Local Enforcement Plan pdf icon PDF 201 KB

To consider the call in of an Executive decision to approve a Local Enforcement Plan for Surrey Heath.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report setting out a Member Call-in in respect of a decision taken by the Executive on 17th November 2020 to approve a Local Enforcement Plan for Surrey Heath which would provide a framework for the investigation and assessment of breaches of planning control in line with current national policy.


The Plan, which replaced one initially approved in 2014, would not only provide the Council with up to date guidance on how to establish priorities and procedures for the investigation of alleged breaches of planning control thus enabling planning enforcement resources to be managed and prioritised effectively but it would also provide the public with clear and transparent information about what they could expect from the Council’s planning enforcement service.  


The Executive’s decision to approve the Plan had been called in by Councillor Alleway, supported by Councillor Wheeler, who expressed a number of concerns about the proposed Plan including that:


·         The Plan did not adequately address the monitoring of planning decisions.

·         The Plan did not make sufficient provision for ward councillors to provide input into enforcement matters.

·         The Plan failed to provide a mechanism by which ward councillors could monitor the progress of any enforcement activities.

·         There did not appear to be opportunities for routine audit by members of the consistency enforcing planning conditions.

·         The Plan implied that Retrospective Planning Applications would be supported


The Committee considered the grounds for each part of the Call In and the following points were noted:


Call in reason Paragraph 1.0 - The Plan appears to not address monitoring of planning decisions as NPPF para 58


Paragraph 58 of the NPPF sets out that effective enforcement is important in maintaining public confidence in the planning system, that enforcement action is discretionary and local planning authorities should act proportionately when responding to suspected breaches of planning control.  The NPPF also states that Planning Authorities should use Local Enforcement Plans to proactively manage enforcement in a way that was appropriate for their area including how they would monitor the implementation of planning permissions.


A request for the implementation of a register of planning conditions so that any breaches could be routinely monitored was acknowledged. It was stressed that there was no evidence of significant or widespread breaches of planning conditions in the Borough. Consequently, any monitoring and enforcement activity should be proportionate to the scale of the issue in Surrey Heath.  Furthermore, the routine monitoring of all planning conditions would significantly impact on the current resources of the planning enforcement team and significant additional resources would need to be identified to deal with this additional work. It was agreed that the work generated by the development of an enforcement register would be reviewed after six months to ensure that resource levels were appropriate.



It was proposed that a report detailing the progress of any enforcement activities would be taken to the Planning Applications Committee on a quarterly basis to enable any breaches to be monitored by councillors.


Call in reason Paragraph 2.3  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28/PF