Planning enforcement operation takes place in Station Town

Nov 16, 2023 | Local News

A planning enforcement operation has taken place in East Durham following intelligence suggesting breaches of regulations.

Durham County Council conducted a two-day operation in Station Town and Wingate, supported by Durham Constabulary and the Environment Agency (EA.)

The operation was organised after intelligence was shared with the council suggesting breaches of national planning regulations at sites in the two communities.

Planning enforcement officers attended those sites, accompanied by officers from the police and EA, to investigate.

During the operation, evidence was found of a number of significant breaches of planning regulations.

Council officers will now be making further enquiries with a view to taking formal enforcement action. This could typically include the serving of notices requiring work to remedy the breaches, and prosecutions.

A council spokesperson said: “Planning regulations are in place for a reason – to ensure the same rules apply to anyone wanting to build or develop land.

“People may wonder what the harm is of a planning breach but we know our residents across the county take much pride in their local environments and these can be heavily impacted by unauthorised development. It is our job to investigate and respond accordingly where we receive reports of this, and we carry out enforcement operations whenever they are required across County Durham.

“In this case, we received intelligence of apparent breaches and worked with our colleagues at Durham Constabulary and the Environment Agency to plan an operation to allow us to investigate and potentially gather evidence of anything that is against the regulations.

“We discovered some significant breaches of planning regulations at a number of sites which we will now be investigating further, with a view to potentially taking further action.

“This operation was a great example of agencies working together to address matters that are raised with us and we would like to thank Durham Constabulary and the Environment Agency for their assistance throughout.”

Terry Hill, Acting Inspector at Durham Constabulary, said: “When we gather information about illegal activity in our communities, we will act – whether that be on our own or by sharing that intelligence with our local authority partners and supporting their investigation.

“Operations such as this ensure that we get the message across that potential breaches of the law will be investigated and, when appropriate, enforcement action will follow.”