Waverley takes planning breaches “very seriously.”

After over a decade, the Council is updating its Planning Enforcement Policy to prove it.

Out goes the old  Planning Enforcement Document and in comes the new. Will this one work?

An updated Local Planning Enforcement Plan to be considered by the Executive today reveals how the Council will respond to complaints about breaches of planning control, the process for investigating and recording complaints and the timescales involved.

The overarching principle of the Plan is to provide a fair, proportionate, and consistent enforcement service to protect the environment of the Borough and the amenities of the people who live and work in Waverley.

Whilst planning enforcement is not a statutory function of the Council, Waverley claims it takes breaches of planning control very seriously. Its policy is to exercise powers appropriately and rigorously to ensure development takes place by approvals.

Members of the Executive will hear that dealing appropriately with breaches of planning control and ensuring compliance is essential to ensure that the planning process remains credible.

Any allegations of potential planning breaches will be adequately investigated, and appropriate, reasonable and proportionate action will be taken, where necessary, when deemed expedient and in the public interest.

The  Local Planning Enforcement Plan identifies local priorities for enforcement action so that the Council’s enforcement limited resources are put to the best use in dealing with breaches of planning control that threaten protected features, the quality of the natural and built environment, or the amenities of Borough residents.

It has been devised by the advice from the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (July 2021), which states:

“Effective enforcement is important to maintain public confidence in the planning system.

As set out in the NPPF, the effective and proper enforcement of planning control is essential to public confidence in the planning system and Waverley’s  aim is to protect the interests of our environment, residents, visitors, and businesses from potentially harmful effects of unauthorised development. It should, however, be noted that planning enforcement is not a punitive measure, the main purpose of the system is to remedy breaches, not to simply punish those responsible for a breach of planning control.

 The document sets out the Council’s specific Plan for enforcing planning control. This will ensure that councillors, officers, external agencies, residents and businesses are aware of its general approach to planning enforcement and what it considers a priority.

 The Council wants to manage the community’s expectations of when and how quickly it will respond to an alleged planning breach complaint and what level of service they can expect.

 What is a planning breach? 

the carrying out of the building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land.” A breach of planning control is defined in section 171A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as:

  • The carrying out of development without the required planning permission; or  
  • failing to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted. 

The full document can be found here on Page 19 of the: Public reports pack 17012023 1800 Executive (1)

3 thoughts on “Waverley takes planning breaches “very seriously.””

  1. mmm. Nothing can be worse than the response of the current Enforcement Team – a wet rag in a thin paper bag…. during a rainstorm.

    1. Brilliant response. -we must remember that one. Perhaps if you cast your mind back a while ago, you might recall that Chief Planning Officer Zac Ellwood intimated that Waverley could give up on planning enforcement altogether; here at the WW, we thought they had.

      1. I take it that the Planning Enforcement team is not worth taking seriously then? Are they just all bark and no bite?

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