Council creates 'mini enforcement team'

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 1 May 2015

 Bridgwater town centre, Sedgemoor

A local authority planning restructure has led to the creation of a "mini enforcement team" to tackle growing development challenges.

Sedgemoor District Council service manager for development management Stuart Houlet told Planning there has been a change of personnel at the authority in recent months and to give more focus to the department it was decided to create a "mini enforcement team."

He added: "This is a fast growing place with acute environmental challenges. Twinned with these environmental challenges is the impact of the Hinkley Point C and National Grid projects. 

"But the district also has more than 1,200 listed buildings and 15 conservation areas within its boundaries, a mix of market towns and villages set within a rural context.

"Coupled with high development pressure and an ambitious pro-growth agenda, the planning caseload is varied.

"We deal with a high volume and diverse planning issues including major housing, employment, retail and regeneration proposals.

"There have been lots of changes, such as introduction of the community infrastructure levy (CIL) and we became aware there will be lots of compliance issues that needed addressing, so we set up a new mini team to focus on enforcement."

The council is looking to recruit a planning enforcement officer to investigate and respond to breaches of planning conditions and non-compliance with planning legislation.

Houlet said: "The postholder will follow up unauthorised planning matters including tree and listed building works, handle complaints from the public and prepare reports and assessments.”

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