In the current climate, we are operating at a reduced staffing level. Assessments of the breach you have reported may take longer than normal. We may request further information from you to aid in the investigation; such as photographs or measurements.
We are not carrying out site visits at this time unless there is a specific urgent matter and we will consider this on a case by case basis.
In respect of contact with the case officer/the council offices during this period, as you will appreciate the majority of staff are working remotely and email contact in the first instance is suggested and preferred, however we do have office cover and will do all we can to help you on the first point of contact or ask the case officer to contact you directly.
Whilst we are working hard to maintain our usual efficient service, as we are working in different ways to respond to the restrictions of Coronavirus at this time, you may experience a delay. The Case officer will be in touch with you to discuss implications on individual applications and enforcement complaints.
The Government has introduced some new legislation that came into force on the 24 March and is in place until the 23 Marc 2021. This allows Class A3 restaurants and cafes and other Class A4 Drinking uses to expand without planning permission for the provision of takeaway foods. More on this can be found at legislation.gov.uk. The Government has also advised that local planning authorities should use their discretion on the enforcement of planning conditions which hinder the effective response to COVID-19 pandemic.
Hours of working on construction sites
The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government issued a ministerial statement on 13 May 2020. It made clear that with immediate effect, local planning authorities should take 'a swift and positive approach to requests from developers and site operators for greater flexibility around construction site working hours'. Broadland and South Norfolk Councils want to do everything possible to support the economic recovery of the country and see the construction industry getting back to work as a key priority.
It is the Councils' view that it is essential that the impact any temporary relaxation of working hours could have on local residents and businesses is mitigated appropriately. Balancing that key consideration with the need for the construction industry to get back on site, it is the Councils' view that 'a short term or modest increase to working hours' as stated in the ministerial statement would be for an initial four weeks and that hours of construction could run until 9pm Monday to Saturday. Should complaints be received during this period, we will work with developers to address any concerns being raised. Enforcement action would not be taken during this period. However, if these hours of construction are required for a longer period then we will request further information be provided in relation to the usual matters such as noise and traffic and that these are then regularised by a temporary adjustment to a condition or construction management plan as may be relevant. The Council will seek to utilise an informal approach advocated by the ministerial statement where appropriate. The Council will provide a guidance note to developers
Please note that this procedure will be kept under review in light of any further updates and changes from the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most complaints about unauthorised work fall into the following categories:
- Operational development (building)
- Change of use
- Untidy land
- Protected trees.
The majority of complaints received are resolved through negotiation, without formal enforcement action. Find out more about how local planning authorities can enforce planning control.
What happens if I report a suspected breach of planning?
We will investigate and keep you informed of any action we take. It is unlikely that we will act on anonymous complaints so please provide your details so we can contact you. Details about how we will investigate a complaint is outlined in the Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
If formal action is taken, the developer who has carried out the work will be served an Enforcement Notice. The notice explains what they have to do to remedy the breach and the date they have to do it by.