It is part of a £2 million national investment to tackle illegal development on the green belt and is targeted at areas with the most green belt land.
The funding will be used to develop a specific Planning Enforcement function on the Council’s website. This will include information to help inform residents and developers of planning rules and maps of local green belt areas, along with a self-service, online complaint reporting system that integrates with existing information systems (eg. associated planning applications). This will enable council officers to respond more rapidly where serious breaches are reported.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment, Cllr. Steve Reade said: “We are delighted to receive this additional Government funding to help protect our green belt land from illegal development following our successful bid.
“Our green belt land helps to prevent urban sprawl and provides people who live in urban environments with a means to connect with nature and wildlife.
“We receive around 1,200 complaints a year regarding illegal development and building work not following planning permission and these are all investigated. Formal enforcement action can lead to fines, a criminal record, or even a prison sentence in extreme cases.
“Figures show that we took formal action against this type of development 135 times in 2018, which is more than all of the other local authorities in our area combined. This additional funding will allow us to carry-on with that good work and use the resources we have in the most efficient and effective manner possible.”
Residents are encouraged to check whether planning permission is required before carrying out any development, even if it is just installing a new hedge or fence.
Information on planning permission and the application process can be found at https://www.southglos.gov.uk/planningpermission
If you are aware of a development that you think is being carried-out without the suitable planning permission, you can report here https://www.southglos.gov.uk/planningenforcement