100 signatures reached
To: The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
List eyesore property enforcements on council websites
This petition is asking for the S215 enforcement system to be made more transparent by making it a legal requirement for local councils to list details about S215 enforcement cases on their websites, just as they have to do for planning permission.
Why is this important?
All over the UK there are eyesore properties. They stand festering for years, getting more and more dilapidated, depressing everyone who sees them, spoiling the look of the local area, attracting flyposting, flytipping and worse.
Local councils have legal powers to do something about this, under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. And they do sometimes use this power when an an eyesore property is reported to them. They write a letter to the owner, giving them a deadline of usually a few months to get the necessary repairs done. But more often than not the deadline passes, the owner has ignored the letter and done nothing. The next step is for the council to take the owner to court, but how often does that happen?
Time and time again, local residents like me who have reported an eyesore property are disappointed and frustrated, because the local council doesn't follow through. And when that local resident tries to get an update, the council ignores them. For example, the photo above shows a dilapidated corner shop with flats above it in south-east London which was reported to the council in June 2016. It was made an enforcement case, but no repairs have been done, and the council are not replying to emails asking for an update. The shop closed down in May 2017 - it's been suggested that the offputting appearance of the building had something to do with the business failing. Several people have commented that the building is beginning to look dangerous, and one person reports that pieces of masonry fall off onto the pavement when it rains. On 31 August 2017 the council rejected a Freedom of Information request, asking whether or not they are taking legal action against the owner. One interpretation of this would be that they are not taking legal action, but don't want to admit it.
So please sign this petition – if it means a change in the law, then let's go for it. Because as council tax payers we have the right to see greater transparency in what our local councils are doing, or not doing, on our behalf. It will give those councils the motivation to keep up the pressure on owners to do essential repairs, because the information will be visible for all to see.
Let's all get together to make eyesore properties a thing of the past, and help raise the standards of neighbourhoods all over the country. Thank you.