The division provides services that actively promote the enhancement and protection of the environment in terms of community safety, health and well-being, and the quality of the built and natural environment. It comprises of the following sections:
The Planning Control section works with Urban Environment colleagues to protect, conserve and enhance the borough’ s assets and to ensure development proceeds in the public interest. Development Control is a forward facing, customer-orientated section with an emphasis on delivering high quality lasting development on the ground with the objective of regenerating the Borough.
We deal with over 2000 planning applications a year, and the sections work is the end result of the process started in Planning Policy, (assessing development against the Unitary Development Plan and Black Country Core Strategy), and is the regulatory stage before Building Control. The team not only determines planning applications and represents the Council at planning appeals they also proactively provide business friendly planning advice and guidance to the public, interest groups and applicants to add value to the process.
The section also includes an Enforcement team (who proactively and reactively enforce breaches of planning control and provide advice) in addition to a Tree Team, (who deal with the applications for works to protected trees and high hedges and provide advice on development proposals).
The Building Control Control Section carries out the Council's statutory duty of applying Building Regulations. The Building Regulations are essentially a set of minimum building standards which provide acceptable levels of health and safety for people including those who are disabled, who live, work, visit or are in the vicinity of buildings. It is the responsibility of the Building Control Division to enforce the Building Regulations and other relevant allied legislation. This means assessing proposed work to ensure compliance and inspecting work on site as it progresses at certain stages to ensures that buildings are safe, energy efficient and have reasonable access for all.
The service provides advice to developers and builders and seeks to deliver a quality Building Control service in direct competition with the Private Sector.
The Historic Environment team works to protect, conserve and enhance the borough’ s historic environment. They do this by providing advice and guidance and in particular planning advice, relating to all aspects of the borough’ s heritage. This includes 700 statutorily and locally listed buildings and 21 conservation areas.
Historic environment prides itself on having a proactive approach to regeneration through conservation. It carefully records the borough’ s heritage and maintains the council’s Historic Environment Record (HER), which holds details of all of the borough’ s heritage assets.