I am sure readers will agree that Braintree District Council should have a good reputation for strong planning enforcement.

The majority of those seeking to carry our development, of all sizes, obtain planning permission through the proper channels. But a minority do not and it is unfair on those that “do the right thing” if unauthorised development, particularly where it causes real harm, is not tackled.

A cross-party reference group has been established to consider improvements in planning enforcement and its recommendations are set to go forward for consideration.

Protecting listed buildings and trees and our valued and beautiful landscapes were considered as high priorities as the group concluded its recommendations.

Solving enforcement cases can be complex. Initial discussions with site owners can resolve issues at an early stage. But that is not always the case and matters can go on for months and cause major concerns for residents and parish councils.

Lately enforcement cases in Gosfield and Castle Hedingham have led to robust action by the council. I would like to assure residents that the council is acting and I would like to thank officers for their hard work and dedication in this regard.

Moving forward it is apparent that more needs to be done to make sure that BDC has a good reputation for strong planning enforcement.

I would like to thank officers and councillor colleagues for their commitment to the reference group and look forward to debating the issues later this year.

Jo Beavis

Independent Councillor, Hedinghams Ward

Member Planning Enforcement Reference Group