Enforcement Action Needed!
Following my last Article featuring our Council’s failure to provide a designated officer or councillor with responsibility for monitoring, in this case Sinah field’s required conditions prior to development, I received more disturbing news on this subject. A recent planning permission in Langstone was refused as several conditions had not been addressed by the developer, yet construction began. Reportedly our Council took no notice until residents questioned this. Apparently and, distressingly, given the fragility of our environment and its increasing destruction by human activity, “The developer destroyed a stream backwater where water voles lived and has not re-instated the bank as required by the Environment Agency, and other requirements have never been fulfilled either, but there has been no penalty on the developer. A tree preservation order seems to have been completely ignored by the council. The list goes on...”. Havant Tree Wardens have separately notified me of further instances of HBC’s failure to enforce Tree Preservation Order infringements nor require another tree to be planted. They urge the public to notify Havant’s Open Spaces Manager firstname.lastname@example.org of the following actions in and on ‘common ground’ i.e. beyond a property’s boundary, providing location, date and photo if possible: any spraying whatsoever, any cutting of trees/hedges/plants, plus garden waste dumping. Northney Tree Wardens have planted Woodland and Wildlife Trust trees in 2020-21 on common ground but some homeowners have cut these to waist height for their ‘view’. All these actions are illegal and must be reported.
By contrast Poole uses the Proceeds of Crime Act, the tree’s ‘value-added’ to a property being charged against the action against that tree, the perpetrator taken to High Court and charged. Also Havant’s 1.5 people to enforce fly-tipping, tree damage etc. contrasts with East Hants. District Council’s 7 at least.
Residents learned in early April that the Council is only now appointing a Discharge of Conditions Officer who must confer with the Planning Officer. Why has this taken so long and at what cost to residents’ frustration and often distress by witnessing some builders’ abuse of our planning laws. Ironically HBC has recently re-published its Constitution but of what use is that without the necessary officers and councillors to perform basic functions, for which they are answerable? How long has our Council carried on without a ‘Discharge of Conditions’ Officer, so how many Planning Conditions have been ignored even when keen-eyed residents have pointed out the dereliction of duty to monitor an Application’s Conditions? What of the scenarios, such as that distressingly witnessed in Langstone, plus those in relation to Tree Preservation Orders contravened by homeowners, that have been subsequently ignored? It is also relevant that it was following campaigning residents’ continued concerns about our environment and rising sea levels, that an Environment and Climate Change role was created and Cllr. Julie Thain-Smith appointed. What is her attitude towards the destruction of environment reported throughout the borough?
Regarding Sinah Field’s Conditions, HBC’s Principal Planner Daphney Haywood stated: “In order to provide the required mitigation, the Wintering Bird Mitigation Area needs to be operational at the time it is required to offset the adverse effects which are being addressed. The provision of the refuge is the subject of an obligation in the draft S106 Agreement which will need to be completed prior to issuing of the planning permission and the obligations would be legally binding on the landowners if and when the permission is implemented. The decision will specify conditions and in the case of non-compliance the Council can issue a breach of condition notice, which would be a matter for the Enforcement Team.” But where is the enforcement team?