To receive any questions from members of the public under paragraph 17 of Part 2 (The Council and District Council Members) of the Constitution.
Two questions had been received from a member of the public, Mr David Green Chairman of Sevenoaks Society, in accordance with paragraph 17 of Part 2 (The Council and District Council Members) of the Constitution.
Question 1: Mr Green
Why were no steps taken in the period 25 February to 10 August 2020 pursuant to resolution 41 a) of Council on 25 February 2020 which stated: ‘That a definitive statement be sought from the owner of the former Farmers public house site, of their timelines to dispose of the site or to fully implement the planning permission’? What steps if any have been taken since 10 August 2020 pursuant to the said resolution a) and with what (if any) results, and what further steps are now proposed to be taken pursuant to it?
Response: Leader of the Council
You will understand that it is difficult for the Council to give out full details of the steps which it has taken on the issue so far as it is currently subject to enforcement action and also relates to personal information.
In 2019 a lawful development certificate was issued for the site (SE/19/01295/LDCEX). This confirmed that development had lawfully commenced on the site in accordance with planning permission Ref 13/03596 dated 27 February 2015.
We have attempted to contact the owners of the site, in writing and by phone to seek a timescale for developing the site or for its sale. We have not been able to make contact with them. As it has been difficult to seek any answers from the owners, even to statutory notices, the Council believes that clear action needs to be taken and this is what we are now doing. It light of the above it was agreed by officers that the best course of action is to pursue the CIL payments, hoping that this would encourage them to carry out the permission.
Question 2: Mr Green
Why were no steps taken in the period 25 February to 10 August 2020 pursuant to resolution 41 b) of Council on 25 February 2020 which stated:
‘That the owner be pursued for the full community infrastructure levy (CIL) payment due’? What steps if any have been taken by SDC since 10 August 2020 pursuant to the said resolution b) and with what (if any) results, what further steps are now proposed to be taken pursuant to it; and what is the amount of CIL, including interest and surcharges, outstanding to SDC as at 17 November 2020?
Response: Leader of the Council
Since before 10 August 2020, the Planning Authority have been taking steps to recover the full CIL funds.
There are a number of steps that we need to take including gaining information, calculating the correct fees (including interest) and also ensuring that the details of the notice are correct and following the complicated CIL legislation. We also have to provide the owners with adequate timescales to respond to our demands at each stage. This is therefore taking some time.
Please be assured that we have commenced this process and that we are working with our Legal team to ensure this is carried out correctly. We are due to serve revised Demand Notices imminently, including all the surcharges and interest which we expect to be paid. Our Planning Team will be able to inform you of our progress, subject to personal information not being disclosed, as the steps for enforcement are taken.