Van problem in Brockley Cross "slight or non-existent"

Having written in the past about the problems with the number of vans owned by local van hire companies (in particular D&M), parked on local streets around Brockley Cross and Brockley Station, we wrote to Cllr Johnson and Cllr Foxcroft, asking whether they would consider taking the matter to the Council. They agreed that the situation was problematic and referred the matter to planning officers.

The situation is that D&M operates from an office in Brockley Cross with no dedicated parking. Their vans, unlike ACE Van Hire (which gone to the trouble of securing private parking) have to be parked on residential streets. It is precisely because this kind of arrangement leads to local people being unable to park outside their own homes and shopping streets being used as parking bays for large removal vans that van hire offices are considered "sui generis" by planners. In other words, D&M should have applied for permission to operate from that office. But they did not.

So officers investigated the situation. Yesterday, we received their response:

In regard to section 172 of the Town and Country Planning Act, the Local Planning Authority (LPA) may issue an Enforcement Notice (EN) where it appears that there has been a breach of planning control and that it is expedient to issue the notice (having regard to the Development Plan and to any other material planning considerations). Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) 18 (para5) reminds the LPA that the EN should always be commensurate with the breach of planning control to which it relates and that it is usually inappropriate to take formal enforcement action against a trivial or technical breach of planning control which causes no harm to the amenity in the locality of the site.

As a result of investigating this case and also from the photographs, the conclusion is that the impact of the alleged breach on the amenity of the locality is slight or non-existent. Accordingly, considering the facts and circumstances there does not appear to be a breach of planning control, as can be seen in the case of (East Barnet Urban District Council v British Transport Commission refers). However, if there was a breach of planning control (albeit "trivial" or "technical") taking enforcement action in the circumstances would not be considered expedient - PPG 18 para 5 refers - particularly in the light of the impact on amenity of the locality. Therefore, in the light of this investigation, no formal action will be taken against D & M by the Council.

So there we have it. Unlike the many BC readers who have complained about the vans, the Council doesn't see the problem and won't be taking any action against D&M for their breach of planning guidelines.