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Government watchdog slammed for overturning problem house law enforcement measures in South Shields UK News

Government planning inspectors have come under attack for overturning execution measures against a repeatedly occupied house in South Shields.

The South Tyneside Council began its work in 2019, citing a ‘significant number of incidents of crime and anti-social behavior’ linked to the property in Seafield Terrace. He ordered it to stop functioning as a multiple occupancy house (HMO).

But the planning inspectorate ruled against this decision and ordered its annulment.

Senior Planning Officer Peter Cunningham said: “Council has been concerned about blatantly anti-social behavior for a number of years and the lack of any formal building permit agreements on the property.

“We served an application notice and the planning inspection basically canceled the notice, granted a building permit, subject to a management plan.

“It’s a shame we lost the appeal, but on the other hand, we now have a building permit with a management plan, which is an improved position where we were before.”

Cunningham was speaking at this week’s meeting (Monday, April 19) of the South Tyneside Council planning committee, which was held via video link and broadcast via YouTube.

The building shelters “vulnerable adults”, the conclusions of the inspector affirming that “it is the activities of certain residents and certain visitors which generate the incidents and the crimes which are responsible for the fear of crime”.

But he added that “unauthorized use” of the site was not to blame for this and accepted proposals for a management plan confirming details of staffing and other arrangements.

The building operator had previously applied for a building permit to “regularize” its use, but that request was later withdrawn before council chiefs could comment on the matter.

Several members of the planning committee criticized the inspector’s decision. Cllr Geraldine Kilgour said: “I think the [appeal decision is] really disappointing.

“I understand the point about the management plan, but I think the nearby residents have had ongoing issues and I just hope this will work for everyone’s benefit.”

Cllr Wilf Flynn said, “I appreciate that this is an application specific, but we still have an ongoing problem with HMOs.

“I don’t think we’re at the end [and] I am concerned about the effect this will have on future applications, as there is a reluctance to see a spread of HMOs. “

A spokesperson for the planning inspectorate said: “The inspectors are independent and impartial.

“When making a decision, the inspector takes full account of the evidence submitted during the appeal and takes into account existing planning legislation, policy and directives.”