Buckingham MP, Greg Smith has pledged their support for the Planning (Enforcement) Bill to help stop rogue development and protect local communities.
The Bill will receive its Second Reading in the House of Commons this Friday. If successful it could pave the way for a change in the law to prevent rogue development and stop those that do break the rules profiting from illegal development.
The Bill, put forward by Runnymede and Weybridge MP Dr Ben Spencer, seeks to create a national database for planning enforcement action, giving local authorities the tools for the first time to track those who repeatedly breach planning rules. It would also require planning applicants to declare if they had been found in breach of planning rules in the past.
For the worst offenders, the Bill seeks to grant a new power for local authorities to apply to the High Court for an injunction to halt any further development on the site and ban the use of the land or buildings identified as being in breach of planning rules, until the enforcement case has been fully resolved.
Currently land owners and developers can continue to use and profit from activities that are in breach of planning rules, and continue to make further applications for development. Each separate development becomes subject of its own compatibility with planning rules, and if each breach each is also subject to a separate right of appeal. This can result in incredibly long and complicated cases which see illegal developers profiting while communities suffer from loss of green belt, excessive impact on local infrastructure and more.
Dr Ben Spencer MP said: “The impact of rogue development on our communities can be devastating. While most people adhere to the rules, the minority who intentionally breach planning rules can cause misery to neighbours and our communities, and can cause irreparable damage to our Green Belt.
Since 2019 I have been made aware of numerous cases where repeated planning breaches have caused significant disruption, anxiety and anger amongst neighbouring residents. The provisions in my Bill will end the cycle of endless applications and planning breaches on problem sites, and help protect our residents and our natural environment.”
Greg Smith MP added: “I am delighted to support the Planning (Enforcement) Bill and help protect our communities from rogue development. By removing the financial incentive to break planning rules, and giving local authorities greater tools to tackle those who do, we can put a stop to persistent offenders and help protect our natural environment.”
The Bill has already received support from over 50 MPs as well as councillors and members of the public. Further detail about the Bill is available at www.stoproguedevelopment.com.