Planning enforcement a vital safeguard of quality

I read with interest your special report and guide to careers (see related links). It is little wonder that planning enforcement is still treated as the Cinderella of the planning world when no mention of it is made.

Perhaps it is not perceived as a specialism and, conceivably, this is why it hardly features in the curriculum of any accredited courses.

I use the three-legged stool analogy of development management, policy and enforcement to contend that without effective enforcement, all planning is aspirational. Thankfully, we (the Network for Planning Enforcement, the Royal Town Planning Institute's enforcement network) managed to get paragraph 207, highlighting the importance of enforcement, bolted on to the final published National Planning Policy Framework.

The planning enforcement process is extremely complex, in terms of both law and practice, and the planning enforcement officer is a specialist. This is an important and distinct function within the planning process and one that needs to be carried out by individuals with the necessary skills to ensure the successful resolution of the many issues it encompasses.

Martin Levick, senior enforcement & compliance officer, Built Environment Directorate, Cheltenham Borough Council

The Editor replies: The article was meant to offer a sample of the specialist roles within planning, rather than a comprehensive list. But enforcement is an essential part of the process, and I'm glad we have been able to cover effective enforcement work in Barnet and Hackney in this and the previous issue.

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