Thursday, 22 April 2010


Serious concerns were raised regarding a new Planning Enforcement Protocol eventually adopted at Wednesday evenings planning committee meeting.

Labour Leader and Planning Member Cllr Clive Hart said "because the new protocol is complaints based and therefore reactive, it fails to deal with some of the most serious breaches of planning control, such as developments not built in accordance with approved planning permission, where sites need to be regularly monitored in a pro-active manner. The fact is, that under the protocol a formal complaint is required to trigger any investigation and the public quite understandably cannot complain until something is built that is blatantly incorrect. By that time it is usually too late and a retrospective application is submitted by the developer, so we're all back to square one".

Planning members were also concerned about the depletion of resources available to planning enforcement through the reduction of enforcement staff numbers. Cllr Hart continued "other departments of this council access millions of pounds for regeneration that often has only limited effect, when much smaller amounts of money targeted at planning enforcement matters could have a much more beneficial outcome for our local environment. It's no good building smart new buildings with regeneration funding on the one hand if on the other hand we allow our existing buildings to fall into disrepair and to be disfigured by unsightly and inappropriate additions".

Labour Deputy Leader and the TDC Shadow Spokesman for Regeneration and Economic Development Cllr Peter Campbell is also a member of the Planning Committee and following the meeting he said " Yet another example of Conservative run Thanet District Council cutting the very services that protect the built environment of Thanet. We have thousands of listed buildings and a profusion of conservation areas, all are in need of protection. Cutting the overworked staff that provide this protection is short sighted in the extreme. This issue should have been discussed at full council not hidden away at the end of a planning meeting. The residents of Thanet should be allowed have their say on this issue".

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