For November's Merton Council meeting, we have presented the following motion on planning enforcement. This is an area where we frequently hear complaints from residents and it is about time that Merton Council listens and puts in place a plan to properly enforce planning decisions.
Strategic theme motion – planning enforcement
Council recognises the importance of good town planning and understands that local residents want planning applications that are approved to be adhered to and properly enforced.
Council notes that the building development control function has for quite a long time struggled to properly undertake planning enforcement with the latest statistics showing that the number of planning enforcement cases closed each month are at 46% of their target.
Residents demand and expect that all development in Merton is in accordance with sound planning principles and planning law.
Therefore, council requests that the Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and the Climate emergency in conjunction with the Director of Environment and Regeneration put in place measures to improve planning enforcement and report on progress to council in 6 months’ time, and to each meeting of the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel.
Council expects the following aspects to be included:
- Online portal for planning enforcement cases which councillors and residents can see;
- Easier reporting of planning breaches on the council website;
- Action plan to tackle the backlog in planning enforcement cases;
- Better communication between the Planning Dept and the public and councillors;
- Clearer outcomes on planning enforcement with stronger measures taken;
- Stronger enforcement of existing planning laws against individuals and developers who break planning rules;
- Council to use public communications to highlight enforcement breaches (with an emphasis on those who fell trees);
- Senior Planning officers to review the outcome of development following completion to ensure that greening measures have been implemented, especially tree planting;
- Stronger protection of existing trees via greater use of Tree Protection Orders.