Committee members have attended consultations organised by Camden Planning Enforcement. These provide a valuable opportunity to find out the objectives of the Enforcement Officers and to raise concerns of Belsize residents.
Recent meetings have discussed how other London boroughs are strengthening their approach to enforcing planning obligations for significant construction projects, such as ones that involve a Construction Management Plan (such as 100 Avenue Road).
The commitments made by developers should try to minimise noise, pollution, traffic, etc. and then local authority enforcement officers should check that the construction follows the plan. For small projects, the enforcement can be light touch, but as projects become larger, active enforcement becomes more crucial. For Belsize, it is an issue even for single site residential projects as they can include large amounts of demolition/rebuild and basements.
BelSoc is a member of the Camden Resident Association Action Committee (CRAAC) an umbrella group for Camden resident bodies that has recently been reviewing the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s approach. The latter’s approach seeks to be systematic about enforcement for significant construction works. It puts in place specific activities (site visits etc) to enforce obligations. Recognising that enforcement action in relation to complex construction projects needs to be resourced adequately (funding, people, skills etc), Kensington and Chelsea has put in place charges which are levied from developers undertaking projects that involve significant construction works.
This dialogue is valuable and timely. Community groups rely on the Council’s enforcement teams. Citizen groups cannot provide systematic monitoring, professionalised and expert based, which is needed in order to ensure that significant projects meet Council standards and the agreed CMPs. And recent experience with large projects is worth discussing with the Council’s enforcement teams, highlighting where improvements may be possible and desirable.