Agenda item


This report provides the Committee with an update on enforcement and monitoring activity covering the period from 1 February 2017 to 28 February 2018.



Ian Gray, Planning Enforcement Team Leader

Caroline Smith, Planning Development Manager

Nancy El-Shatoury, Principal Solicitor


Key points raised during the discussion:


1.    Members commented that there were some costly traveller incursions within Epsom & Ewell and Reigate & Banstead that were not listed in the report despite enforcement action having been taken.  The officer acknowledged the omission and explained that the boroughs and districts had not communicated all incursions to Woking Borough Council who were collating the information following a meeting of the Surrey Chief Executives Group.  Members were encouraged to contact district and borough planning officers and encourage them to submit the required details.

2.    A Member suggested that the full report be presented to the Police and Crime Commissioner.

3.    The Planning Enforcement Team Leader presented the report to the Committee in conjunction with some photographs to illustrate the breaches of conditions and corrective measures that had been taken.  The photographs are attached to these minutes as Annex 3.


Action at Authorised Sites


4.    The Planning Enforcement Team Leader drew Members’ attention to an error in the report regarding Moorhouse Sandpit.  The report indicated that the applicant had been fully compliant with the Enforcement Notice (EN), however this was not the case.  There remained some unauthorised development, with a concrete base and bay walls still needing to be removed and lowered respectively.  The Officer explained that this would not be straightforward as the appeal decision required agreement between the operator and the County Planning Authority (CPA) as to the extent of the removal of the concrete base, which was the reason why the EN had been issued in the first place.  It was explained that an EN has to be very specific in what was required and allowed no room for deviation, which is what had since arisen from the Inspector’s decision.  The operator appealed against this step of the appeal decision, but it was not upheld by the courts, meaning the CPA was now required to negotiate with the operator again to achieve compliance.

5.    Members were informed of a misunderstanding between the operators of Brockham Oil Well in identifying which well heads were which.  It was explained that this was due to the way they were left when they were closed off.  Members raised concern that the applicant will be submitting further applications to committee despite such confusion on existing sites. 


Action at unauthorised sites


6.    The Planning Enforcement Team Leader highlighted the issues at Swift Lane, Bagshot, and Members noted that a Public Inquiry would be taking place in April 2018 at Surrey Heath Borough Council.


Tim Hall left the meeting room at 11:57am and returned at 12:02pm


7.    The officer updated Members on the case of Land at New Pond Farm and showed photos of the site that had now been cleared and returned to grass. Members noted that Guildford Borough Council were still taking action on this site as a number of vehicles had now been moved onto the land.  Previous clearance of machinery by Guildford Borough Council had resulted in a charge on the land of approximately £80k.

8.    A Member questioned if the Health & Safety Executive gets involved.  Officers explained that they tend to focus on working with the Environment Agency (EA) and Local Planning Authority, with HSE only occasionally being requested to address issues on authorised sites.

9.    Members agreed that there was a need for a better coordinated multi-agency response in dealing with enforcement cases.  Suggestions included HM Revenues & Customs.  The officer explained that he had contacted HMRC on a couple of occasions with regards to larger sites and one had resulted in a £1million bill being issued.

10.  The Principal Solicitor referred to a multi-agency group that used to meet to discuss common issues that had since ceased.  A Member explained of a similar concept with the Police localised crime group, where district and borough representatives were invited to attend and provided an opportunity to work together.

11.  A Member offered to forward suggestions from officers on to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and to involve the Environment Agency (EA) in the conversations. The officer said he would be grateful for such an opportunity and would relay the offer to the EA officers that he was working with in relation to traveller incursion issues.


Traveller incursions and Waste disposal in Surrey


12.  There was some discussion around instances of traveller incursions around the county and the high costs involved in clearing the residual waste left behind after the sites were vacated and the restoration of land by both Local Authorities and other landowners. The Planning Enforcement Team Leader explained that in cases of unauthorised traveller incursion which involved them importing and depositing waste on land, video evidence or witness statements were essential in building a case that would enable the EA to seize offending vehicles under their powers, providing they had the support of the police.

13.  Members commented on fly tipping and gave examples of cases they had witnessed.  The Planning Enforcement Team Leader advised that borough and districts dealt with fly tipping, whilst the CPA focussed on larger cases of unauthorised disposal of controlled waste by companies dealing in commercial waste disposal.


Natalie Bramhall left the meeting at 12:20pm.


14.  Members highlighted that there had been some instances of proactivity as a result of previous traveller incursions.  Ditching and mounding was becoming more popular in order to restrict and prevent future incursions.  Officers welcomed this approach where it was possible and did not in itself require express planning permission.




Members noted the report and thanked officers for their work.

Supporting documents: