'Paltry' fund for planning enforcement criticised

Need to build something? Just do it and seek retention, it could be a decade before it’s investigated.

Currently, 85 per cent of retention applications are granted by the council, providing little incentive to developers to follow the law and wait for planning permission to be granted before they start work.

The backlog of cases means that it could be several years before a developer has to worry about unauthorised structures, Ms Creighton said.

She is calling on the council to increase its enforcement budget to 40 per cent. “Enforcement is a critical aspect of proper planning,” she said.

The council said that its enforcement budget for this year represented an increase of almost 5 per cent on last year.

“The budget is adequate to meet the needs of enforcement in the planning department’s opinion,” a spokesman said.