North Norfolk District Councillors call for changes to planning applications

Nigel Pearce

Nigel Pearce

Two frustrated North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) members are hoping to lobby the government for changes to planning legislation.

Paul Rice

Paul Rice

Paul Rice and Nigel Pearce believe rules about retrospective planning applications and so-called 28-day notices need tackling.

The pair is concerned at a growing number of retrospective applications to NNDC and believe a financial deterrent would save public money and lead to fewer cases.

Mr Pearce, member for Cromer's Suffield Park, said people built extensions, homes, or stored materials in controversial places without seeking planning permission.

Some ignored conditions granted with their planning approval and built much nearer a neighbour's boundary than permitted, or used unapproved materials.

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If brought to NNDC's attention, it meant councillors and officers had to spend time on site visits, reviews and possible enforcement action.

'And that all comes out of the public purse,' said Mr Pearce.

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'It's not necessarily naivety on their part. I think some people go out of their way to ignore the planning laws. It's becoming more and more prevalent.'

He and fellow Conservative Mr Rice, who represents the Waterside ward, believe people should be charged for the extra expense their retrospective applications cost the council, and therefore the taxpayer.

Mr Rice is also keen to see the same public advertising rules for both ordinary planning applications and '28-day notice of intent' applications made by farmers.

At present, farmers are exempt from some planning controls for smaller buildings and development on their land.

Mr Rice said such applications did not need to be advertised near the site, as with ordinary applications, but he believed this was wrong.

Last year in his ward a farmer's 28-day notice application to build a reservoir had caused a 'furore' because the public had not known about it.

'We are not against development, but we need to get these grey areas changed,' said Mr Rice.

What do you think? Email or write to: EDP Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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