Monitoring and Compliance - Construction Sites
- Meeting of Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 13th January, 2021 2.00 pm (Item 6.)
Report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods), the Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing and the Head of Compliance, Enforcement and Community Safety
The report provides information requested by Members on a range of activities relating to the monitoring and compliance of construction sites.
The Committee considered the report of the Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods); the Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing and the Head of Compliance, Enforcement and Community Safety that had been submitted to provide information that had been requested by the Committee.
The main points and themes within the report included: -
· Known active construction sites across the authority;
· The city’s start and end times for construction works to be undertaken and the rationale for those times;
· How many neighbouring local authorities and other core cities had the same permitted construction times as Manchester; and
· Information on the monitoring of construction sites and the approach taken to enforcement, including examples of types of breaches identified and how these were addressed.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· The need to manage development to achieve the correct balance to support the development of the city and mitigate the impact and disruption to local residents, adding that city centre ward Members had supported resident campaigns on this issue;
· How wre compaints managed, to date how many developers had been issued with a fine and what was the approach if disturbacnes and complaints arose from devleopments in neighbouring authorities;
· Noting that trees were often removed as part of preliminary land clearance activity prior to any formal planning consent and conditions;
· How many enforcement officers were employed;
· Noting the contuned lack of communication wth local residents and Members to advise them of works to be undertaken, espicaily work undertaken at night;
· The impact of temporary road closure on local neighbourhoods; and
· Noting that the understaning amongst devlopers as to their responsiblities to local residents as part of the agreed Management Plans, with particualr reference given to inconsiderate parking.
In response to the questions and comments raised by the Committee, the Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport acknowledged the concerns expressed relating to the impact on city centre residents as a result of development. She gave a commitment that she would progress the discussions on how best to address this with Members outside of the meeting, stressing that it was important to strike the correct balance. She stated that all complaints would be investigated and addressed with the developer concerned.
The Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing recognised that complaints did arise from Manchester residents as a result of development work being undertaken in neighbouring authorities. She advised that she would liaise with her opposite colleagues in Salford to discuss this further. The Licensing and Out of Hours Manager gave an assurance thatall noise complaints would be invesigated and an agreeable resolution sought in all cases, even those that crossed boundaries.
The Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing advised the Committee that certain preparatory works were permitted on land prior to a formal planning application submission and consent being granted, however if Members had concerns regarding any activity they should contact her department at the earliest opportunity and a site visit could be arranged.
The Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing sated that works after 6pm was only permitted if the developer had a satisfactory communication strategy in place to relay this information to local residents. A Member commented that from her experience she was not confident this was happening, especially for those residents living in flats. The Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing further advised that road closures were permitted to allow for the delivery of a development scheme and the Considerate Constructors Scheme was a tool to address the issue of parking.
In response to the specific question regarding fines and enforcement, the Licensing and Out of Hours Manager stated that there were two Licensing and Out of Hours Teams (City Centre and City Wide), whose duties included responding to noise complaints from construction sites. These two teams comprised of 35 FTE officers working a seven-day shift pattern, including evening and night cover. He stated that to date no fines had been issued to developers as cases had been resolved informally by engaging with the developer when complaints had been received.
The Section Planning Manager advised the Committee that there were five Planning Enforcement Officers and stated that both teams worked closely together to resolve issues.
The Chair commented that the Considerate Constructor Scheme was a voluntary scheme and consideration needed to be given to estbalishing a bespoke Manchester Considerate Constructors Scheme that had to be adhered to by contrators and be included as a mandatory condition of any planning consent. The Committee supported this recommendation.
The Chair further reommened that a briefing session be arrnaged for Members of the Committee to provide an overview of a range of activiees that included, but not restricted to planning and related enforecment; roles and responsilibities and Traffic Regulation Orders. The Committee supported this recommendation.
1. Recommend that the Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport give consideration to establishing a bespoke Manchester Considerate Constructors Scheme that had to be adhered to by contrators and be a included as a mandatory condition of any planning consent.
2. Recommend that Officers, in consultation with the Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport arrange a briefing session for Members of the Committee that provides an overview of a range of activiees that included, but not restricted to planning and related enforecment; roles and responsilibities and Traffic Regulation Orders.