A district council claims to have seen the number of people sanctioned for breaching planning laws almost treble since it streamlined its approach to enforcement.
South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) said that between April 2014 and the end of March 2015 it issued 22 formal planning-related enforcement notices.
That rose to 62 enforcement notices in 2015/16 “and the trend for the current financial year continues to demonstrate the council’s robust approach”, it said.
SNC said it had adopted a more flexible approach to the way it managed its resources, swapped cumbersome files for a ‘paperlight’ approach, and prioritised a collaborative approach ahead of formal legal action.
Cllr Roger Clarke, the council's portfolio holder for planning and environment, said: “People who build new development without permission and ignore the rules that others spend valuable resources to respect, are blighting the lives of their neighbours and the character of the district and should be aware that we have an energetic team of people ready to hold them to account.
“But one of the things that sets us apart is that we are also willing to work with developers, large and small, to find solutions before delays affect the viability of their projects.”