Enforcement appeals success rate

Enforcement is backing key planning decisions in the Winchester district with seven out of eight enforcement appeals dismissed in the past year.

In response to a Council question (11 October), Cllr Victoria Weston, Deputy Leader of Winchester City Council and Portfolio Holder for Built Environment, said:

This year we had eight enforcement notice appeal decisions. Seven have been dismissed and one was successful – that is 87.5% success.

All-too-frequently an enforcement notice served against a breach of planning control is appealed to an independent Government-appointed Inspector to reach the final decision. Defending the Council’s enforcement action at appeals is time-consuming and costly. The high success rate of appeal decisions in the last year re-enforces the Council’s diligent performance of our dedicated enforcement officers.

I acknowledge that the perception of many is that enforcement does not have any teeth, but it is important to understand the parameters under which our officers are able to take action. Our enforcement policy is currently being updated and we are planning an enforcement briefing session for members and parish councils in the New Year.

Cases have included:

• the erection of metal gates, brick piers and close-boarded wooden fencing in excess of one-metre-high near to a highway used by traffic
• material change-of-use and conversion of land and a building from agricultural use to use as a dwelling
• the siting of caravans for residential purposes
• the use of land as a highway maintenance contractor’s yard including the storage of bricks, for office use and residential accommodation
• change-of-use of land from agricultural to residential, undermining the vitality and viability of Winchester town centre with operational use that conflicts with the aims of Local Plan policies.

Cllr Weston added:

Government policy requires every effort to be made to resolve any inadvertent or minor breach through discussion and retrospective application so it is always very important to gather the facts and information before taking enforcement action to ensure that we have a sound legal case.