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Enforcement strategy

Published Monday 26 February, 2024
Last updated on Monday 18 March, 2024

People are being asked for their views on how Swale Borough Council will manage unauthorised development within the borough.

The policy and resources committee agreed on 7 February for the council’s draft Planning Enforcement Strategy to go out to consultation.

The draft plan sets out how the council will prioritise and investigate alleged cases of unauthorised development or breaches to planning permission and what action they can take.

The key aims for the council are to be:

  • Proportionate - any enforcement needs to be proportionate to the seriousness of the alleged breach
  • Helpful - the council will communicate with developers or landowners and give them the opportunity to rectify any breaches quickly
  • Targeted - the most serious cases will be prioritised
  • Consistent - a similar approach will be taken in similar circumstances when taking enforcement action
  • Transparent - developers or landowners will receive a clear explanation for decisions made and be told what can be done to remedy any breaches
  • Accountable - the council will follow the Planning Enforcement Strategy at all times

This enforcement is key to the integrity of the planning system and helps the public feel confident that developments will follow the rules and any planning breaches will be dealt with in the public interest.

It also outlines how and what breaches can be reported and how they will be prioritised, so council resources can be best utilised.

When the council receives an enquiry, they will assess whether it is in the public interest to investigate the breach further based on the evidence before them.

Whilst every breach will be evaluated the plan prioritises the most harmful breaches of planning control and will enable the targeted use of council resources.

This new plan will replace the current Planning Enforcement Strategy which was adopted in 2021 and is out of date.

Cllr Tim Gibson, leader of the council, said:

“Not all development needs ‘express’ consent from the local planning authority, but it is important to check before you begin any works.

“If you do need planning permission, you would be required to submit a formal written planning application.

“This plan will help us make sure developments within the borough are following the rules and any conditions of those planning applications.

“It also sets out what we can do when a developer fails to do so, giving us the tools to get the issues rectified and, if needed, further action we can take.

“This plan will not only help us tackle breaches, keeping our planning system’s integrity and the public’s trust, it also outlines how we can assist developers in the process.

“It is important for people to know what issues can be brought to our attention and how they can expect us to deal with their complaints, this plan outlines both.

“Please give us your feedback on this draft plan, we want to make sure developments in Swale are following the rules and any conditions set out in their applications.”

To read the plan and have your say visit: https://swale.gov.uk/pes

The consultation will run from February 26 to April 21.

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