As promised, here is the response from the City Council regarding the requests from us and from Highfield Residents’ Association for enforcement action regarding the change of access route for construction vehicles to/from the Beech House site in Latimer Road via Highfield residential roads.
I have reviewed the original planning permission, the Construction Traffic Management Plan and the information sent in by yourself and the local residents.
Whilst the Construction Traffic Management Plan does limit the access to the development from London Road, on to Latimer Road and into the site, having discussed the matter with a number of council officers and under the circumstances, it is the council’s decision that is not expedient to take any enforcement action against the breach of planning control in this instance.
The National Planning Policy Framework advises that “local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control”. In this instance, the developers are not wilfully choosing to breach their planning conditions under normal circumstances but have been forced into a temporary deviation due to other unrelated works that affect access into their site. It would not be reasonable to prevent deliveries from accessing the site or stop the site from developing whilst the Hospital’s energy pipework is installed.
Even if the council did decide that enforcement action was expedient and proportionate, the amount of time it would take to prepare, serve a breach of condition notice and the time for compliance allowed to the developers would likely exceed the time the London Road/Latimer Road junction is temporarily closed for. Any prosecution the council tried to bring against the developers would likely be dismissed as the developers would have a more than reasonable argument as to why they couldn’t temporarily comply with the condition.
The council is working with the county Highway team and the developers to try to make the situation as manageable as possible during the road closure and ensure residents are impacted as little as possible.
During the temporary closure of the London Road/Latimer Road junction, issues of highway safety should be referred to the Highway team at the county council or to the local police force who have the jurisdiction to deal with such matters.
I appreciate that this is not a welcome decision for you or the affected residents but I hope you can appreciate the reasoning why the council have arrived at the decision we have.