17 July 2013

From plastic windows to purple properties!

From plastic windows installed in period properties, peeling paint and rotting woodwork and even a listed building painted bright purple, the work of Brighton & Hove City Council’s planning enforcement officers is never dull!

Protecting and preserving the city’s heritage and ensuring properties and developed sympathetically is at the heart of the work of the council’s planning enforcement team.

Over the last year, the team has investigated hundreds of cases where planning controls may have been breached and worked with landlords to make the necessary changes to their properties.

The main focus of the team has been on improving the condition and appearance of dilapidated properties throughout the city. This action has seen significant improvements to the appearance of properties along Western Road, Brighton, Western Road, Hove and Preston Street in Brighton.

Raising awareness is also a key area of work and officers have attended residents meetings to discuss planning enforcement matters that are causing concern.

This has led to residents and developers taking action to put right the breaches of planning control and avoiding costly enforcement action.

Figures show that 85% of cases where planning control had been breached, were remedied before formal action was required.

Property owners who made it clear that they were unwilling to remedy the breach. or when the breach of planning control caused significant harm to the area,  were issued with enforcement notices. Last year the team issued 52 enforcement notices, 28 more than the previous year and the majority of these have already been complied with.

Some of these notices have had a positive effect on neighbouring properties with owners taking action to make repairs to their buildings and improving the appearance of whole streets.

Partnership working between council officers and business owners in Preston Street, Western Road, Rottingdean High Street and Portland Road has resulted in major improvements to businesses - welcomed by residents and customers.

Councillor Phelim MacCafferty, chair of the planning committee said: “Our planning enforcement team has a central role in ensuring that our city’s revered buildings are well-maintained not just for visitors arriving in the city but also for the community who live and work here.”

“People in our city are proud of their neighbourhoods, and unsightly additions to buildings, neglected properties and unsympathetic renovations can all have a detrimental effect on entire streets.

“The planning enforcement team is very successful at resolving issues without the need to take formal action, which saves both time and money. Every effort is made to encourage people to carry out work to put things right. Those that ignore the council’s advances, however, can expect a formal notice.”