Shortly before the Christmas break, Planning Resource magazine published their review of 2018’s highest enforcement penalties for breaches of planning controls.

No5 planning barrister Scott Stemp prosecuted two of the top 10 cases listed by the magazine, securing a total of nearly 700,000 for his planning authority clients; more than 620,000 of which was in POCA awards, and more than 35,000 in costs.

Mr Stemp also defended in another of 2018’s biggest enforcement cases listed, making him the only planning barrister to have appeared so frequently in the list for 2018.

His cases listed included the use of garages as residential rental properties without planning permission in the Ealing borough and the unauthorised operation of a lorry sales business from a farm in North West Leicestershire.

Last year also saw Mr Stemp successfully guided one planning authority through its first Proceeds of Crime Act action for planning enforcement.

Mr Stemp said: “It is vital now, more than ever, for both prosecutors and defendants to be properly advised about POCA at a very early stage. 

“Enforcement via POCA is an increasingly important tool in the armoury available to planning authorities and appropriate use of POCA allows planning authorities to remove any profit made from breaches of planning controls from those committing breaches and sends an important message to the local community as to how authorities will seek to protect the environment and to recover the costs spent in taking the action required.”