CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

There are ways of dealing with rogue developers

13 September, 2018

• I READ with interest the article (Camden urged to launch confiscation cases against dodgy developers, September 6), which pointed out that Camden Council have been ineffective at taking enforcement action against those who break the planning rules.

The article doesn’t mention another impact of this failure. If the breach of the planning rules is not enforced against within a period of 10 years from when it starts the owner of the building can apply for a “certificate of lawfulness” and so make the change or development permanent.

There are many cases in Camden where the response of the planning team to complaints from residents about a problem which is the result of a planning breach (like a shop having turned into a noisy restaurant) is “10 years have passed and so we can’t enforce it”.

Councillor Danny Beales may be wary of taking developers to court using the Proceeds of Crime Act but that should not prevent Camden from issuing planning contravention notices whenever it is pointed out that a breach of planning rules may have occurred.

At least this could reduce the chance that a developer continues to benefit from a change it has made to the detriment (usually) of the law-abiding residents in the surrounding area.

DAVID KANER
Mercer Street, WC2

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