Crackdown on rogue builders who disrupt neighbourhoods

Published: 13 December 2018

Builders and property developers who create neighbourhood problems by hogging residents’ parking spaces with piles of building materials or cause traffic jams by using grab lorries to empty skips are to be targeted in a new crackdown on highway obstructions.

The council is stepping up enforcement action against builders who cause problems for local residents.
Since the beginning of April, almost 900 on-the-spot fines have been issued to builders for causing neighbourhood problems.

These include storing bricks, timber, piles of sand or bags of cement on the public highway, depriving local residents of parking spaces, often for days or even weeks on end.

Another problem is created by builders who do not want to pay to have skips removed when they are full of waste. Some are cutting corners by arranging for grab lorries to park in the middle of the road while they empty the skip – causing local traffic jams and lengthy tailbacks.

This is because it is easier and cheaper for a builder to get rid of rubble and waste this way rather than have the fully laden skip taken away and replaced with an empty one.

To ensure that residents no longer suffer these types of inconvenience highways inspectors have been issuing on-the-spot fines to builders found to be behaving in this way. And extra staff are now being directed to tackle these problems from other parts of the council.

Planning chairman Cllr Will Sweet said: “We have recently seen an upswing in complaints from residents about the behaviour of some builders who are acting irresponsibly and with little regard for people living near their work sites.

“Using parking spaces to store building materials or blocking the road to empty a skip with a grab lorry are two of the main concerns, which is why we are allocating additional staff to tackle this problem

“Builders who engage in this type of conduct can expect to receive an on-the-spot fine and if they don’t pay they can look forward to a day in court and the prospect of a much steeper financial penalty.”

Anyone handed a fixed penalty notice must pay £100 within 28 days. If they fail to do so they face being summonsed to appear in the magistrates court which can impose fines of up to £1,000.

Residents who wish to report any type of obstruction on the highway are being encouraged to use the council’s ‘Report It’ app which is the quickest and easiest way to raise concerns and also allows people to send in a photograph showing the problem. Alternatively they can call (020) 8871 8871 followed by option 2, then 3, then 1.