A local authority planning department that approves 94% of applications has said that there is no barrier to building for people who follow the rules. Officers for East Cambridgeshire District Council have worked hard to challenge the reputation the sector has for hindering rather than helping people with applications for development. But while the majority of cases get the thumbs up, their firm but fair policy means they take a hard line with people who do not follow due process.
Councillor Joshua Schumann, chair of the planning committee, said: "Our planning officers are not there to wrap you up in red tape and find ways to prevent you achieving your goals.
"Their role is to facilitate you with your proposal and help you understand legislation and work with it to get the best outcome.
"However it is important to point out that those who flout regulations or fail to follow the rules are not treated leniently. After all, we have a duty to enforce and uphold national planning regulations and guidance."
Earlier this month the council was forced to demolish a building at Sappers Rest, Mepal, after it was erected without planning permission and a retrospective planning application was refused. After negotiations with the owner failed, an Enforcement Notice was served on the building requiring its removal and the reinstatement of the land.
Cllr Schumann said: "Cases like these demonstrate that we take breaches of planning regulations seriously and will take action where appropriate.
"The process of applying for planning permission is not difficult or expensive - in fact, we have worked hard to make it extremely easy and efficient. There is no excuse therefore, not to follow protocol."
East Cambridgeshire District Council has one of the most efficient services in the UK with at least 87% of householder applications determined within eight weeks.