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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Development Management Committee A held on 06/09/2006

Summary & Purpose
To provide Members of the Development Management Committees A and B with a report on the progress of the Planning Enforcement Service generally, and for the quarter of April to June 2006.


[Wards Affected: ALL]

Summary and purpose:

To provide Members of the Development Management Committees A and B with a report on the progress of the Planning Enforcement Service generally, and for the quarter of April to June 2006.
E-Government implications:

There are no direct e-government implications since the majority of the work is confidential and not open to public scrutiny.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no direct resource implications arising from the report itself. However, the report may form part of the background for a wider service review to be considered by the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Executive.

There are no direct legal implications arising from the report.


1. This report is intended to bring Members up to date with improvements made within the planning enforcement section. The report will also refer to current issues impacting on the Enforcement Service. It will also inform Members to the work already in hand with regard to bringing some long running cases to a head. Please note that when this report refers to a breach of planning control a breach is one individual site irrespective of the number of complaints received about the site.

Staffing Issues

2. Since the beginning of May 2006 the enforcement team has been one member of staff short due to medical problems. This has placed a huge strain on the remaining enforcement team who have had to concentrate their attentions on the increasing number of new alleged breaches of planning control reported to them, lengthy court attendances as well as dealing with their current heavy caseload.

New Cases

3. In comparison to the last quarter, between April and June 2006 164 alleged breaches of planning control have been reported to the Enforcement Team. 83 of these cases have been investigated and closed due to no breach being identified or the breach ceasing after a visit from the Enforcement Officer. The number of new alleged breaches is averaging around 14 per week, which is still far above average in comparison to neighbouring authorities and if this number continues to be rise it will result in over 700 new alleged breaches of planning control being received and investigated by the end of this year.

Back Log of Old Cases

4. Despite the high number of new alleged breaches of planning control some work has still been achieved in clearing the backlog of old enforcement complaints. During the last quarterly report to Committee members were advised that the team had successfully reduced the backlog from 1000 down to 590. In this last quarter the enforcement team have reduced the number down to 400 outstanding cases and are still optimistic that this will be completely cleared by the end of October 2006.

Notices served

5. In this quarter 3 Planning Contravention Notices, one Article 4 Direction and no Enforcement or Stop Notices have been served. The last Enforcement quarterly report anticipated the number of notices served would dramatically decrease compared to previous years due to the quick and efficient manner that Enforcement Officers are now responding to alleged breaches of planning control.

Court Work

6. Members are reminded of the recent Court success relating to Tanyard Farm whereby the offender, Mr Harper, was found guilty in respect of 3 counts (failure to cease using the land as part of the curtilage of Tanyard Farm, the removal of garden ornaments placed on the land and the removal of other items associated with the use of the land as part of the curtilage of Tanyard Farm). The matter was widely reported in the local and national press, which focused on the garden ornaments (sculptures of pigs and other animals) but the really important issue was the unauthorised change of use of land from paddock to curtilage/garden associated with Tanyard Farm, which was having an effect of urbanising the countryside to the detriment of the Green Belt, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Area of great Landscape Value.

7. The Council incurred costs of 31,000; however the court ordered the Offender to pay 20,000 of these prosecution costs; he also has to pay his own costs, which far exceeded that of the Councils, and a fine of 8,000.

Current Update on Previous Enforcement Cases

8. The following are cases that are actively being worked on at present with a view to court action, if necessary. However in most cases the offenders are now co-operating with the Enforcement Team in addressing their individual breaches thus making the offender responsible for their actions and avoiding lengthy and costly court procedures. One such case was the unauthorised structure at Hambledon House. The Planning Committee approved direct action being instigated against this offender to remove the unauthorised structure however, the offender realising that Waverley Borough Council were serious in their approach removed most of the structure and cleared the land of all resulting materials on their own accord.

9. Please be advised that the update of each of the following cases is highlighted in

10. Members are reminded that if they require further information on these cases or have questions please contact the Enforcement Team.

a) Majorland Rew, Godalming Road, Loxhill, Hascombe

To secure cessation of the use of the land for the stationing of residential caravans and as a contractor’s depot. Further Notices served relating to the barn, mobile home, playhouse and other matters. Appeals dismissed. Notice varied to allow retention of barn. Time for compliance expired 16.07.00 for most things. Offer of Council accommodation refused. Further PCN served. Officers visited the site on 13.05.03. Compliance not achieved. Letter sent to owner’s agent identifying breaches dated 22.05.03. Further offer of Council accommodation refused. Prosecution to follow. Further site visit by Officers on 05.11.04, non-compliance with Notice. Further correspondence with agent regarding continuing breach of Enforcement Notice. Application WA05/0991 rural industry worker’s dwelling was refused on 29.06.05. Appeal lodged in respect of application WA/2005/1330 - retention of existing extension to barn and erection of further extension, to be heard in September 2006.

b) Croft Nursery, Hookley Lane, Elstead

c) Wareham Brickworks, Haslemere Road, Brook

To secure the cessation of the use of the land for the stationing of any mobile homes or caravans and vehicles or equipment connected with this use and also remove the articulated lorry trailer. Injunction given. Enforcement Notice served. An application against refusal for temporary mobile home went to High Court on 18.12.01. One mobile home has been removed. Further breach with stationing of two touring caravans. Further Enforcement Notice served on 04.10.04. Public Inquiry held. Appeal dismissed. Time for compliance 27.04.06. Site visit undertaken and Enforcement liaising with Legal to determine the best course of action to now take. Two further planning applications were submitted and refused recently which are likely to be appealed against.

d) 45 Birch Road, Farncombe

To secure the removal of the balcony which has been erected at the first floor of the rear elevation of the chalet bungalow. Legal interests being established. Legal Department considering further response from owner. Enforcement notice served on 06.12.02. Compliance date 17.07.03. Witness statement drafted. Enforcement Notice complied with in full on 21 April 2006. Item to now be removed.

e) 49 Minster Road, Godalming

Detached garage not built according to approved plan (WA99/0162). PCN served 10.07.03. Reply received 14.07.03. Committee resolved to take enforcement action 17.09.03. Enforcement Notice served 10.12.03. Appeal dismissed. Date for compliance 14.01.05. Inspection carried out. Notice not complied with. Draft witness statements have been completed. Owners submitted an application for an alternative scheme. Application refused – prosecution action being drafted for legal.

f) Land at Old Portsmouth Road, Thursley

Two Enforcement Notices served requiring cessation of non-agricultural use and removal of perimeter fence, shed buildings and hardstanding. Appeal lodged. Inquiry held on 16.06.04. Appeal dismissed. One shed allowed to remain. Date for compliance 08.01.05. Enforcement officers in regular contact with owner of the site and compliance with Enforcement Notice nearly reached.

g) Land at Hambledon House Farm, Vann Lane, Hambledon

h) Tuesley Farm, Tuesley Lane, Godalming

Enforcement action authorised to secure removal of polytunnels, fences/windbreaks, mobile homes and associated engineering works. Enforcement Notice served on 29.07.04. Enforcement appeal dismissed, compliance 12 months. High Court appeal lodged and in progress.

i) 2 The Hatch, The Street, Thursley

To secure removal of parking area, retaining walls and terraces and restoration of contours of land (following dismissal of appeal against refusal of retrospective permission WA03/2193). Enforcement Notice served. Appeal withdrawn. Planning permission granted for an alternative scheme. Time for compliance with Enforcement Notice extended to 25.01.07.

j) The Old Coal Yard, Hambledon Road, Hambledon

Three Enforcement Notices served to secure cessation of the use of an open-sided barn for industrial purposes and external storage and demolition of a timber enclosure. Time for compliance 25.03.06. Enforcement Notice was complied with by 21 May 2006. Item to now be removed.

k) Quail House Farm, Hyde Lane, Hindhead

Cessation of use of land and buildings for (i) storage purposes – Building 1; (ii) industrial (carpentry) purposes – Building 2; (iii) industrial (car repairs and cleaning) purposes – Building 4; (iv) multiple residential occupation – Building 6; (v) storage of vehicles – Pole Barn and surrounding land. Following challenge by the Council, the appeal re-determined by an Inquiry held on 25th June 2003. Appeal dismissed and enforcement notice upheld. Businesses and residents have to vacate the premises by 08.11.03. Site inspection held. Enforcement Notice has not been complied with. Prosecution statement to be prepared.

Further notices served to secure cessation of use of land for stationing shipping containers and demolition of unauthorised shed, storage building, walls and gates and removal of hardstanding area. Appeal lodged. Public Inquiry held on 12.7.05. Appeal against notice concerning shipping containers withdrawn. Other appeal dismissed. An award of costs made to the Council. Shipping containers should have been removed by 2.4.05. Most containers removed. Four are still on the land. New date for compliance with respect to other matters 5.11.05.

All shipping containers, outbuildings (sheds), hardstanding and caravan removed in compliance with one enforcement notice. An invalid planning application was received relating to the retention and change of use of the pole barn. Enforcement officers continue to work with owner to fully comply with outstanding notice. l) 59 Weyhill, Haslemere

To secure removal of unauthorised lean-to extension to Shahanaz Restaurant, 59 Weyhill, Haslemere. Notice served. Appeal against Enforcement Notice dismissed and Notice upheld. Date for compliance 13.04.03. Planning application (WA03/0258) refused and further appeal lodged against this refusal. Revised planning application submitted (WA03/1003) and granted. Appeal withdrawn. No further action once work has commenced on new extension. Full compliance with enforcement notice achieved by 21 April 2006.

To secure the removal or reduction in the size of windows on the eastern elevation by 31.03.04. To secure the cessation of the use of agricultural land for residential purposes. Officers preparing letter to occupants, setting out the manner in which the building may be used. Officers have sent a letter to occupants, and are considering their response. Enforcement Notices drafted. Enforcement Notices served. Appeal allowed in respect of land use. Appeal dismissed in respect of reduction in size of windows. Complied with in full. Item to be removed.

n) Springfield Farm, Hyde Lane, Churt

q) Tanyard Farm, Woodhill Lane, Shamley Green

r) Tanyard Farm, Woodhill Lane, Shamley Green

s) Lydia Park, Stovold’s Hill, Bramley

t) Baynards Park, Horsham Road, Ewhurst

Legal action authorised to require owner to remove a test track, temporary office and shelter. Witness statement prepared. Test track, foundations and shelter removed. Further correspondence with owner regarding removal of office. Meeting held with owner to agree timescale for removal. Further discussions to be held shortly.

u) Beaver 84, Birtley Road, Bramley

Breach of Condition Notice authorised to ensure compliance with planning condition requiring appropriate turning and parking areas to be made available. Owners of site have not complied with relevant condition. Breach of Condition Notice has been served. Site is being monitored. Turning and parking areas are being cleared.

v) Frys Cross Farm, Knighton Lane, Dunsfold

w) Finchingfield, Rowly Drive, Cranleigh

Stop and Enforcement Notices served on 8th September 2003. The Enforcement Notice requires that the hard standing, fencing and telegraph pole are removed and the site is restored to its original condition, all rubble being removed from the site. Stop Notice complied with. Appeal dismissed. Compliance date 2.1.05.

Recent planning application for stabling and retention of hard standing and new fencing approved. Works involve removal of unauthorised fencing. Situation being monitored. Site visit taken place. Fencing still in place.

x) Crowthorne, Furzen Lane, Ellens Green

Planning permission was refused for a large number of alterations and extensions. The works referred to the erection of a conservatory of 27 square metres, a pitched roof over a flat roof dormer, a new porch canopy, an enlarged utility room and extension to physically link the house with the garage and the provision of five large flat roof dormers to the garage roof. The applicants have been requested to remove the unauthorised extensions. Planning application received giving new reasons why retrospective planning permission should be granted. Application currently being considered.
z) Bourne Mill, Farnham

In relation to land at the front, action being pursued to secure the cessation of the use of land for use as a garden centre and for the sale, display and storage of sheds, garden structures, etc., plus the demolition of all sheds, structures, etc. and removal of all resultant materials; action to remove unauthorised signs. Changed Use Enforcement Notice rejected by Inspector, but operational development notice upheld. Letter sent to owner/occupier indicating that if compliance with notice has not been achieved by 13.3.03, then prosecution proceedings will commence.

In relation to land at the rear, enforcement action taken to secure the cessation of the use of land for retail display purposes and to secure the removal of unauthorised ground works and unauthorised buildings. Enforcement Notices confirmed on appeal. A further planning application refused in 2002. Letter sent to owner/occupier indicating that if compliance with notice has not been achieved by 13.03.03, then prosecution proceedings will commence. Appeal dismissed.

In a previous enforcement report in 2003 it was agreed that this site would take priority following the Tanyard Farm case being brought to a conclusion. Now this has been achieved, discussions are taking place with legal on how to bring this site under control. A fuller report will be given in the next quarterly enforcement report.

aa) Century Farm, Green Lane, Badshot Lea, Farnham

bb) Bridge View, Old Bridge Road, Runfold, Farnham

cc) Old Park Stables, Old Park Lane, Farnham

ff) Badshot Farm, St George's Road, Badshot Lea
ii) Heathland, Tilford Road, Tilford


It is recommended that Members note the actions put in place to improve performance on planning enforcement but also note the continuing difficulties with staffing issues and high workloads at the present time.

Background Papers (DoPD)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.



Name: Gina Pink Telephone: 01483 523114
E-mail: gpink@waverley.gov.uk

comms\Development Management Committee B\2006-07\044.doc