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Council Announces Successful Planning Enforcement Action in Wake of Council Leader’s Criticism

Published on: 2 Oct, 2018
Updated on: 3 Oct, 2018

Successful planning enforcement action has been announced by Guildford Borough Council (GBC) today following critical comments from the council leader, Paul Spooner (Con Ash South & Tongham), in August, about the performance of the department for which he is responsible as the lead councillor for planning.

He tweeted:

But a month later, after his tweet received media coverage, he appeared more conciliatory:

In today’s press release, the council says it has had success on three recent planning enforcement cases: “The first case saw the defendant plead guilty to non-compliance with an enforcement notice requiring him to cease using land south of Pound Farm near Cobham as a dog activity area.

“The notice requires the defendant to cease dog walking or training on the site and to remove all fencing, a portacabin and associated hard standing.”

Cllr Paul Spooner

At court on September 28 the landowner was fined £2,100, GBC was awarded full costs of £2,523.51 and the Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) was made for £7,805.

The landowner was given three months to pay, and if he does not pay, he will face four months in prison.

This followed another case, on September 13, related to a commercial dog and exercise business on Valentines Farm, where the landowner was served enforcement notices from the council.

According to the council statement: “The notices required the owner to stop the unauthorised mixed use of the land, as a commercial dog day care and exercise service, and to remove fencing, gates and all other paraphernalia as well as the removal of an unauthorised earth bund.

“The Planning Inspectorate upheld our notice at appeal, and now the terms, and all changes to the site, must be made.”

Another recent case involved an enforcement notice that was served to ensure that a building be reduced in size. In late 2016, council officers visited the site and it was immediately apparent that the building under investigation did not reflect the approved plans, being considerably larger than approved.

The developer submitted a retrospective application that was refused by the council and the Planning Inspectorate. The enforcement notice that followed required the entire demolition of a barn and link way to bring it in line with the approved permissions.

Cllr Philip Brooker

Lead councillor for housing and development management, Cllr Philip Brooker (Con, Merrow), said: “We are pleased with the outcome of these recent cases. Those who want to set up and operate their own business must do so by complying with the law and by obtaining the necessary permissions. The prosecution, in particular, sends a clear message that we will not tolerate any illegal activity.

“We also work hard to ensure that planning permissions are adhered to. In regards to planning permissions being flouted, we will use our powers to ensure that buildings are reduced in size and scope when needed.”

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Responses to Council Announces Successful Planning Enforcement Action in Wake of Council Leader’s Criticism

  1. G Stonehouse Reply

    October 2, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    But have the buildings actually been demolished?

    • S Callanan Reply

      October 8, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      That’s a good question. What’s the answer?

      Another question is why there’s such a disparity between the kind of enforcement sought by Cllr Spooner who said: “Planning Enforcement has forgotten that it serves existing residents not just developers” and that mentioned in the GBC press release.

      Two of the examples were to do with dog businesses on farms: is that really development to use Cllr Spooner’s term? The third “recent” case concerns a building larger than allowed by the plan. In this case the “developer” has been required to demolish a “barn and linkway”.

      It would be helpful to have some detail on this third case. Where is it? Is it really a development or just an extension? Why the lack of detail? And, once again, has the building been demolished? If not, what’s being done?

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