BARNSLEY’S planning officers issued more enforcement notices than any other council in South Yorkshire in the last year - and the fifth most in the country.
The ‘robust approach’ to planning enforcement despite the pressures created due to the coronavirus pandemic was praised by councillors at Tuesday’s planning meeting.
They were told that planning officers issued 35 enforcement notices to developers failing to comply with planning regulations and conditions between April 2020 and March 2021.
These figures are the fifth-highest in England out of 291 local authorities, second highest in Yorkshire and the highest in South Yorkshire.
Brierley and Elsecar were the two areas which received the most - with three each - and Monk Bretton received two in the same time frame.
The planning enforcement team also issued nine stop or temporary stop notices to developers, four breach of condition notices and 23 planning contravention notices.
Out of the 35 enforcement notices that were served, just 26 developers complied with them.
A planning report states: “The remaining notices may be subject to revised planning applications, appeals or where partial compliance has already been achieved.
“Most enforcement notices are usually complied with in the specific period, but on occasion it will be necessary for the service to pursue legal action.”
Between April last year and this March, the council also successfully obtained an enforcement injunction granted by the courts.
Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said: “These figures cover a difficult period when, like all organisations, the council faced huge pressure on resources due to the pandemic.
“Despite this all our staff worked tirelessly to make sure services were disrupted as little as possible, and I’m extremely grateful to our planning enforcement for making sure development work across our borough has been kept in check.
“We welcome sustainable development as part of our vision for Barnsley as the place of possibilities, and it is vital that all development is carried out safely and according to conditions and regulations set out by the council and in law.
“Planning enforcement is complex and cases can take time to resolve, yet we have a very high performing team and residents can be reassured we are making sure developments are being completed responsibly and sustainably.”
From this April to September there were almost 500 planning enforcement requests - 370 of those have been investigated and resolved with 126 that are currently under consideration.
There were more requests sent into the council in September than in any other month, with a total of 90.
A planning document added: “Most cases received by the service are resolved through negotiation and contact with the parties concerned as per our service policy, and some cases are low-level or considered technical breaches of planning control where formal action would be appropriate.
“The service will also take swift and robust enforcement action to address breaches of planning control which are harmful and unacceptable.
“This can include ceasing works on site through the service of stop notices or preventing activities taking place at certain times of the day.”