Ashford Borough Council has set out how it will take a robust, firm but fair stance to those who deliberately flout controls, or seek to deceive or defraud the council. The message is clear – the council will be targeting the minority who spoil things for the majority.
Last week (Thursday 12th May) the Cabinet endorsed taking a tougher stance on enforcement and compliance by approving an overall policy and a specific one which focuses on planning enforcement.
The council’s five year corporate plan includes a commitment to ensuring that enforcement powers are used effectively and to strengthening the approach to enforcement by taking a tougher line on compliance.
The Council’s Enforcement Policy sets out the council’s general approach where there is enforcement responsibility. It sets out the fair and proportionate approach the council will take but also makes it clear the seriousness with which it will pursue those who knowingly and deliberately flout controls, or seek to deceive or defraud the council.
Cabinet also endorsed The Local Enforcement Plan for Planning which relates specifically to planning enforcement and provides a user friendly guide on what constitutes a breach of control, how to report such a breach, the various remedies available to the council and the performance standards residents can expect the council to work to.
The council will follow Government advice which encourages councils to try to resolve issues by negotiation as this is very often the quickest and most effective way to resolve problems. However, the council will not hesitate to take formal legal action, where there is deliberate disregard for the proper observance of rules and regulations.
But where negotiation fails, or individuals deliberately or persistently ignore the rules and carry out development that seriously impacts on the wider community, then there should be no doubt that the council will take formal legal action whenever possible.
This is the first of a range of enforcement policies which will be brought before Cabinet in due course.
In parallel with this work the council’s website is being reviewed to provide a user friendly ‘report it’ function so members of the community can report issues quickly and easily.
Ashford Borough Council 18 May 2016