Planning enforcement team ‘lacks resource’ new report says

ECDC

ECDC - Credit: Archant

A lack of resource in East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning enforcement team has lead to some investigations being put on hold, according to a new report.

The authority’s senior enforcement officer, Andy Smith told councillors that his department had about a dozen cases where planning laws may have been flouted but that a growing backlog of work meant investigations were sitting idle.

In his report to the planning committee, Mr Smith said: “There remains approximately a dozen cases which will at some time require an additional resource to address. These are cases where formal action may be required and due to current levels of work and resources are sitting in abeyance.

“It is important to have full control over the enforcement caseload. There is little flexibility within the team to react to any unforeseen breaches and this is a concern, especially given the North of Ely development is on the horizon.”

Mr Smith said the number of new cases his team had to deal with was down slightly in 2014, but said that it was still the second highest incidence of new cases received in the last five years.

“Nothing has been observed which suggests that the long term trend is downward,” he added.

In the six months leading up to December 31, 2014, Mr Smith said 174 unresolved cases were brought forward and 127 new cases were received.

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By the end of the year, the planning enforcement team had investigated and resolved 156 cases but added that 145 cases were still outstanding, and would be carried on into this year.

Mr Smith added that income generated through planning fees in 2014 was £35,000.