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West Norfolk Council chiefs propose caravan seizure over three-year planning rule breach

Council officials are seeking the go-ahead to remove a caravan which they say has been sited in a West Norfolk village without planning permission for nearly three years.

The case relating to a site off North Beach, Heacham, is due to go before the borough council's planning committee next week.

A report published ahead of the session said officers were first made aware of the issue in late 2018 and an enforcement notice came into force in June 2019.

Planning Applications (1887694)
Planning Applications (1887694)

But, despite that, there has been no response from the vehicle's owner.

The enforcement notice requires the removal of the caravan, a tent and associated materials and the land to be restored to its original state.

And the report said: "The continued failure to comply with the requirements of the Enforcement Notice is causing an adverse impact to the amenity of the area.

"It is considered that the best option for remedying the continuing breach of planning control is to undertake direct action to ensure the requirements of the Enforcement Notice are fully met."

Other potential enforcement options, such as prosecution or seeking a court injunction were not considered appropriate in the case.

And officials warned that doing nothing risked undermining public confidence in the planning process.

But they also admitted it was unlikely that the costs of taking the action proposed, which is estimated to be just under £1,000, would be recovered in this case.

Although planning authorities do have the power to impose a charge on the land which is the subject of enforcement action, the report said the site in this case is not registered with the Land Registry.

It continued: "It is not foreseen that the debt will be recovered in this instance.

This is due to the uncertainty regarding land ownership and the perceived lack of interest/ desirability in acquiring, then selling the land in order to recover the debt."

The case is due to be considered at a meeting of the West Norfolk Council planning committee next Monday, April 12, beginning at 9.30am.

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