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Bradford Council set to ignore minor planning breaches
Bradford Council is set to make major changes to the types of planning breaches it investigates as its team of enforcement staff is overwhelmed by a massively increased workload.
At the moment the authority aims to investigate all legitimate complaints about unauthorised developments, changes of uses and potential breaches of planning consents and conditions.
But in the past ten years the number of such complaints being dealt with by the planning department has more than doubled, reaching 1,712 complaints last year.
With fewer than six full-time enforcement officers, planning bosses want to change what cases it prioritises, which could see complaints about relatively low-level breaches not even registered.
Senior planning enforcement officer Ian Horsfall states in a report: “Given the fact that the overall workload has more than doubled in the last ten years it’s not hard to see why officers can’t act as quickly as members might expect.
“In this financially-difficult climate it seems unlikely that additional resources will be recruited into the planning enforcement team. Therefore it is proposed that the existing priorities are changed to try and ease the pressure on existing workloads, whilst retaining a focus on regeneration objectives for the district.”
The proposed priorities would focus on health and safety matters; listed buildings, conservation areas and trees protected by a tree preservation order; transport corridors, gateways and high public amenity areas; and issues that have an adverse impact on the street scene.
Those issues that would not be normally investigated, unless they are in any of the above priority areas, include: domestic sheds, garages, fencing and walling to the rear and side of homes; dormer windows that would be permitted development but the materials do not match the existing roof; unauthorised roller shutters where the shutter box is internal and the shutter, guides and box are powder coated; all signs; and satellite dishes.