Enforcement issues debate attracts a packed audience

A debut gathering to discuss key enforcement issues turned out be a huge success, writes Miles Thomson.

A capacity audience gathered in Maidenhead last month for the first formal tie-up between RTPI South East and the National Association for Planning Enforcement (NAPE).

Elmbridge Borough Council compliance officer and RTPI South East representative on NAPE's management committee Katie Baldwin chaired the event. She explained the association's objectives to promote planning enforcement, representing all involved in this key area. Membership is free to RTPI members and at a modest subscription to others, with benefits including a web-based discussion forum.

The Environment Agency's Mike St Clare-Newman, a technical specialist in the Thames South East area environmental crime team, explained how the agency is looking to work with local authorities to raise awareness of developments that may be a cover for unlawful waste operations.

London Borough of Enfield principal planning officer David Warden recapped the main changes brought about by the new householder permitted development rights. With so much left to interpretation, he illustrated the practical approaches being taken by Enfield to provide clarity and consistency while safeguarding amenity and character.

Solicitor and planning consultant Linda Russell took the audience through the pros and cons of direct action. She demystified a process that authorities rarely take on and showed how proper preparation is key to success.

Francis Taylor Building barrister Meyric Lewis detailed some of the past year's legal developments. He took in a review of the four and ten-year rules on immunity, the replacement of "estoppel" with "legitimate expectation" and ways to avoid inadvertent under-enforcement.

The audience turnout suggests that further events would be of interest. If there are topics you would like covered, please let the region know.

Miles Thompson is a member of the RTPI South East regional activities committee and an associate at West Waddy ADP. For further information, please visit www.rtpi.org.uk

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