Issue - meetings

Issue - meetings

Planning enforcement

Meeting: 07/06/2016 - Scrutiny Committee (Item 8)

8 Planning Enforcement pdf icon PDF 126 KB


Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee requested a report on planning enforcement in order to consider how compliance is monitored, what enforcement action is taken and whether Planning Committees are made aware of breaches of conditions.

Why is it on the agenda?

For the Scrutiny Committee to consider a review of planning enforcement activity.  The Committee is asked to note the report and may wish to request a progress update report in 12 months time. 

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning & Regulatory;

·         Ian Wright, Environmental Health Service Manager.




Additional documents:


Deborah Tricker, representing the Divinity Road Area Resident’s Association (DRARA) addressed the Committee.  A copy of her address is attached to these minutes. The Environmental Health Service Manager undertook to meet with representatives from DRARA outside the meeting to discuss their concerns in more detail.  He agreed to circulate the outcome of that meeting to the Scrutiny Committee.


The Board Member for Planning and Regulatory Services introduced the report and suggested that this subject should be a priority topic for the Housing Standing Panel and also a topic for a future Member Briefing. 


The Environmental Health Service Manager explained that planning enforcement was a discretionary activity and that a breach of planning was not automatically an offence. 


The Committee noted that a comparison of the level of enforcement in Oxford with all the other district councils in England up to December 2015 showed that Oxford City Council ranked 7th out of 201 district councils for overall levels of planning enforcement; and when compared with every local planning authority in England, including London Boroughs and Unitary Councils, Oxford was ranked 37th.


The Environmental Health Service Manager provided detailed responses to questions from the Committee which covered the following issues:

·         the different licensing regimes that apply to privately rented HMOs and institutional student accommodation

·         the merits of a “triage” system for officers to assess referrals before enforcement action is taken

·         resource constraints within the service

·         how best to measure the effectiveness of the service in dealing with complaints as case closure timescales were not a particularly subtle or sophisticated measure


The Committee noted the content of this report and that a Planning Enforcement Policy would be submitted to the City Executive Board by December 2016. They asked for a further report to come to the Committee in 12 months time.