Planning enforcement officials in Brighton and Hove have spent the past year focusing on improving the condition and appearance of dilapidated buildings.
As a result the appearance of several properties has been improved along Western Road, Brighton, Western Road, Hove, and Preston Street, Brighton.
Officials tried to encourage improvements without resorting to the issuing of formal enforcement notices whenever possible.
They found that improvements in one neglected property often spurred the owners of neighbouring properties to take action as well.
He said that in the 2012-13 financial year 729 cases were closed after enforcement investigation, down from 822 in the previous year. The team was currently handling 417 live cases.
In 37 per cent of the cases closed there was found to be no breach of planning control.
In 14 per cent of cases closed officials decided that it was not expedient to pursue formal enforcement proceedings as the breach was minor and not causing unacceptable harm.
In 49 per cent of cases there were breaches of planning rules which required investigation and were significant.
Compliance was achieved without formal action being taken in 85 per cent of cases where significant breaches of planning control were found or where development was considered to be causing unacceptable harm. This affected 291 properties.
But compliance was achieved only after issuing formal enforcement notices in 52 cases or 7 per cent of the total.
Mr Thatcher said that a key area of his team’s work was raising awareness. Officials had been along to residents meetings to discuss planning enforcement and matters that were causing concern.
This has led to residents and developers taking action to put right breaches of planning rules and avoiding costly enforcement action.
Where possible, Mr Thatcher said, officials worked in partnership with business owners. This had brought about big improvements in Portland Road, Hove, and High Street, Rottingdean, as well as Western Road and Preston Street.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, chairman of the planning committee, said: “Our planning enforcement team has a central role in ensuring that our city’s revered buildings are well-maintained not just for visitors arriving in the city but also for the community who live and work here.
“People in our city are proud of their neighbourhoods. Unsightly additions to buildings, neglected properties and unsympathetic renovations can all have a detrimental effect on entire streets.
“The planning enforcement team is very successful at resolving issues without the need to take formal actio, which saves both time and money.
“Every effort is made to encourage people to carry out work to put things right. Those that ignore the council’s advances, however, can expect a formal notice.”
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