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Conservative Councillor, Stephen Greek, claims people will "suffer" because of planning officer cuts at Harrow Council
A Conservative councillor says that Harrow residents will “suffer” as a result of the council’s decision to cut the number of planning enforcement officers it employs.
Last week Harrow Council announced that there will now only be two, as opposed to four, planning enforcement officers working in the borough as a result of budget cuts.
A senior enforcement position has been removed because the department faces “significant challenges” in its budget.
The Labour council’s revelation has been attacked by the Conservatives.
Shadow planning and regeneration portfolio holder, Cllr Stephen Greek, said: “Enforcement officers perform a vital role by ensuring that planning permissions are complied with and that illegal developments do not occur.
“It will be Harrow residents who suffer as a result of these cuts, as it means the council’s capacity for carrying out this work will be severely reduced.
“This means complaints about unexpected extensions, suspiciously large new garages and other infractions of this nature will be investigated slower, or not at all.
“When someone carries out an illegal development it can be very upsetting and frustrating for those who live and work nearby.
“These feelings will be amplified if the only reason dodgy developers get away with it is because the council doesn’t have the ability to take action against them.”
Cllr Greek added: “Our residents deserve a planning department that is on their side, but the council’s cuts make that increasingly difficult.
“Labour like to say they are protecting front-line services while making cuts elsewhere, but enforcement is a service which engages with residents and protects the appearance of our borough. It is the very definition of front-line.”
The Harrow Times is awaiting a comment from the council.