Bedford planning team issues “significant number of notices” to developers ignoring compliance orders

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Breach of condition notices have been issued to a number of developers working on projects in Bedford Borough, for failing to comply with various heritage & planning compliance orders.

Ian Johnson, Bedford Borough Council’s manager for heritage & planning compliance updated the Planning Committee this week (18 October 2021) on planning enforcement.

“There was an increase in caseload last quarter,” he said. “But that was principally due to a vacant post in the team.”

Mr Johnson said, “A significant number of notices have been issued and action taken in the last quarter.

“The owner of Samson’s House was prosecuted and fined a total of £7,500 for failing to comply with breach of conditions notices issued in relation to bins and cycle storage and landscaping.”

“Enforcement notices have been issued on major cases relating to unauthorised dwellings on former farm sites.

“Finally, a breach of condition notice was issued on the developers at the G-Park in the Wixams for failing to comply with agreed working hours.”

Mr Johnson also gave a summary of the Appeals Report for the quarter July 1 to September 30.

The full report highlights that the government monitors local authorities on the quality of decisions they make on development applications.

This is measured by the percentage of the total number of decisions that are then subsequently overturned at appeal.

If too many are overturned within either category (major and non-major) then the government may designate the authority as underperforming for that category of applications.

“[This is] a good appeal support performance for the last quarter,” said Mr Johnson. “With 18 out of 21 appeals dismissed.

“In terms of appeals of note, appeal inspectors continue to show strong support for our Spatial Strategy, particularly on how we approach development in the open countryside.

“We’ve also had a first appeal relating to the council’s HMO Planning Guidance. That appeal was refused on parking grounds”.

Mr Johnson added that the inspector considered that the measures within this guidance should be applied with a degree of “flexibility and pragmatism”.

The committee was told that the appeals and enforcement team leader is leaving next month, but will be replaced internally by a principal planning officer.

While this will leave a vacant post in planning, the council is currently running a recruitment drive for planning officers at all levels, the close for applications was October 18.

by John Guinn Local Democracy Reporter
and Bedford Independent’s Paul Hutchinson

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