4 June 2014

Working to preserve city's heritage

 

Protecting and preserving the city’s heritage and ensuring properties and developed sympathetically is at the heart of the work of Brighton & Hove City 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.

 

Last year the team investigated more than 1,000 reported breaches of planning control. Following investigations, 225 cases were closed as there was no breach. A further 275 cases where planning control had been breached, were remedied before formal action was required. A further 19 complied after being issued with a formal enforcement notice.

 

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 28 enforcement notices.

There are currently 364 ongoing investigations.

 

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

Over the past three years residents have become more aware of the work of the enforcement team and this has led to property owners taking action to put right the breaches of planning control and avoiding costly enforcement action.

 

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 Western Road, Brighton, Western Road, Hove and Preston Street, Brighton, has resulted in major improvements to businesses - welcomed by residents and customers.

 

Following complaints from residents, a pro-active programme to remove satellite dishes in conservation areas, has also been effective.

The team has also made it easier for resident to report a possible planning breach with a new webform on the council website.

 

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.”