Angus’s most senior councillor has backed a tougher line against planning offenders who fail to take enforcement notices seriously.
Development standards committee member Alex King said he believed the threat of direct action could be triggered sooner against offenders after councillors were told the prospect of the authority moving in had finally resolved a long-running Sidlaws saga.
The owner of land at Gagie Filters, near Kellas, has promised to give the council a detailed schedule of the works he will carry out at the listed site to ensure compliance with enforcement notices issued in early 2017.
It required the reinstatement of filter beds which were once part of an aqueduct system supplying water to Dundee, as well as the removal of items which had been brought onto the land.
The three filter beds, a gate pier, wall and further pier, together with the walls and a narrow gauge railway, were all category B-listed in 1991.
Access issues had been blamed for the work not being completed, and despite a Reporter dismissing appeals against both the listed building and planning enforcement notices, the landowner also failed to make payment towards a fixed penalty fine.
The latest committee update said officials will stay their hand on carrying out direct action while there is evidence of progress on the site.
Arbroath West and Letham SNP councillor Mr King said: “When we are threatening to take direct action we seem to get a reaction from the miscreants.
“Perhaps it is something that we should move to somewhat quicker. If people know we are prepared to take direct action then they may move on things.”
Planning and communities service leader Kaye Cowey reported the period from July to September had seen seven new enforcement cases added to the council’s books, with 14 closed.
More than 200 enforcement cases are currently the subject of ongoing investigation across Angus.
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Earlier this year, the council won an award of four-figure costs for direct action taken to secure the former Hooks Hotel in Kirriemuir.
The C-listed property has also been at the centre of a long-running planning row after plans for a multi-million pound conversion of the town centre property stalled.
Work to protect the roof of the building, cap chimney and board upper floor was carried out by the council, but the property owner appealed the £8,875 bill on the grounds that the work was excessive and unnecessary.
After months of investigation, Scottish ministers backed the council’s position and ordered the developer to pay the four-figure sum.