Tackling issue of Calderdale businesses working from home that have impact on neighbours

A councillor is urging his council’s departments to work more closely with each other and other appropriate organisations to tackle issues of businesses  being run from home and impacting adversely on their neighbours.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 2:58 pm

Coun Ashley Evans (Lib Dem, Warley) had written to the council’s Chief Executive, Robin Tuddenham, and other senior officers about the matter.

The council says such incidents are responded to when reported, although it can be difficult identifying businesses being operated in this way from a planning perspective.

Coun Evans said such issues are complicated as they often cut across several different council departments and the result is that nothing happens.

Councillor Ashley Evans
Councillor Ashley Evans

He says some incidents like this are seriously anti-social, affecting the living environment of those who live there to an unacceptable degree.

“We have a responsibility to manage our environment in general and ensure that the ‘place’ in which we live is the best possible for Calderdale residents.

“I really do believe that it is incumbent upon council departments to come together with other organisations like the police to do something about the situation, rather than it is difficult to do anything, suggest it is another department’s responsibility, allowing the situation to continue and escalate before a major incident kicks off.

“Surely, across all departments we have the powers and tools to deal with this problem, so please can we do something about it?”

The council’s Corporate Lead for Planning, Richard Seaman, said the council understands the problems that can be caused by unauthorised businesses being run at home.

“They can cause concern in the community and potentially undermine businesses that are lawfully operating.

“We will always respond to concerns or issues when they are reported, however identifying business being carried out at a residential property can be notoriously difficult from a planning perspective,” he said.

Mr Seaman explained how the process was tackled.

“Investigations are required into the scale and type of work being carried out as well as from where the business operations are occurring.

“Many people work from home these days, however if significant business use is identified, planning permission would be required for change of use.

“If concerns are raised, in cases of doubt we would initially serve a Planning Contravention which obliges the owner to answer questions that will enable planning teams to identify if a material change of use has occurred.

“If issues with anti-social behaviour are also occurring, our community safety team is able to investigate,” he said.

* Support your Halifax Courier by becoming a digital subscriber. You will see 70 per cent fewer ads on stories, meaning faster load times and an overall enhanced user experience. Click here to subscribe