The 10th January 2015 saw Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles announce that in a bid to crack down on unauthorised development, a new £1million fund will be made available to local councils.
Up until now, the cost of seeking court injunctions against those who flout planning law, has been settled by the local council. However, with the introduction of the new Planning Enforcement Fund, this no longer needs to be the case.
A recent survey of councils highlighted that the average cost of an injunction during 2011 – 2013 was around £13,000, but with the new £1million fund in place, councils will be able to apply for £10,000 per case, enabling them to effectively take action against any unauthorised development.
Mr Pickles explains:
“This new £1 million fund gives councils the tools they need in the fight against unauthorised development, so they should not be afraid to go through the courts to tackle serious breaches of planning law”
He goes on to say:
“Councils should not be afraid of using court injunctions for serious planning breaches and this new £1 million enforcement fund gives councils extra resources in the fight against unauthorised development”
The £1million fund will be split, with £200,000 being available to local councils until March 2015 and £800,000 being made available in the 2015-16 financial year.
This is not the only change that the current government has made in an attempt to deal with unlawful developments. Other major changes include, amendments to the Localism Act 2011, temporary stop notices extended to cases of caravans used as a main residence placed without planning permission and reforms to judicial review to address its impact on economic recovery and growth and reduce the delays and costs associated with it.