There are several different types of planning enforcement actions, the most common of those being enforcement notices, as well as stop notices. What should you do if you receive one and why might you receive one in the first place? At Kingsley Smith Solicitors LLP our proactive planning lawyers have dealt with most types of objections to these kinds of enforcement measures. We make the process of receiving and dealing with any planning enforcement measure as stress free as possible. We have the experience and practical knowledge to deal with them effectively as well as getting the best results for our clients. Read on for more information on how to deal with some of the key planning enforcement measures that local authorities might use to restrain an alleged breach of planning control.
1. Introduction
2. An enforcement notice explained
3. What steps should you take if you receive an enforcement notice?
4. Timeline of an enforcement notice appeal process.
5. How long will it take?
6. Planning Contravention Notices & Contravention Notice Guidance
7. The General Permitted Development Order And Permitted Development Rights.
8. Permitted Development For Extensions.
9. Permitted Development Outbuildings

1. What are planning enforcement measures?

A planning enforcement measure is a notice or order issued by a local council (or a court) if they feel planning control in their jurisdiction has been breached. ‘Planning control’ is defined in section 171A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, (see Planning Practice Guidance.)

One such measure is a Planning Enforcement Order, introduced in April 2012 to stop breaches of planning control after the statutory time limits for enforcement have expired.  This measure was created to address concerns about deliberate concealment or planning breaches.

The Local Planning Authority must have sufficient evidence of a breach to even justify applying to the magistrate’s court for a planning enforcement order. An order will only be granted if the court is satisfied that a breach of control has been deliberately concealed by the taking of positive steps. Refraining from informing the authorities does not count.

The application for the order must be served on the owner and the occupier of the land and on anyone else who would be materially affected by enforcement action. Those served with the application have the right to be heard by the court before any order is granted.

There are several different types of planning enforcement measures. Enforcement and Stop notices tend to be the most common and well known, although there are many different ones, which we outline below.

Definition of an enforcement notice

This is one of the first steps taken by a council when there is a development or part of a development they feel is in breach of planning legislation. These notices will either ask for an action to be taken or ceased. Note: An enforcement notice can require the demolition of a building erected without planning permission. A stop notice cannot do so. (See more about stop notices below).

You must comply unless you can appeal against it in time. If not, you will most likely be prosecuted. The local authority also has the right to come in and make the alterations themselves.

Definition of a stop notice

A stop notice can prohibit any or all of the activities which comprise the alleged breach(es) of planning control specified in the related enforcement notice, ahead of the deadline for compliance in that enforcement notice. This is a follow-up to an enforcement notice and can result in a substantial fine. A stop notice  cannot be appealed, but it can be challenged in the courts by a judicial review claim.

If either a stop notice or an enforcement notice is quashed or amended, you might be entitled to compensation. These sorts of planning orders need immediate and specialist help and this is where Kingsley Smith Solicitors will be able to help with their expertise and knowledge.

Temporary stop notice: This is a temporary order, which only lasts 28 days and can be issued immediately and without an enforcement notice having been issued.

Alternatives to enforcement notices

If you’ve received a planning enforcement measure of some kind, it may not fall under either of these titles discussed above. Depending which council’s jurisdiction you come under, or what specific breach of planning controls you may have committed, you could receive one of the following:

  • ‘Breach of condition notice’: Used to fix a breach of condition as an alternative or addition to an enforcement notice.
  • ‘Planning contravention notice’: Served if the council suspects a planning breach. It doesn’t have to be served before the enforcement notice, but it can be. It’s an offence to respond with false information and it must be responded to within 21 days.
  • ‘Section 330 Town and Country Planning Act 1990’ request: Similar to a PCN, used to obtain information, response is required within 21 days.
  • ‘Section 16 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts 1976’: Similar to a PCN / s330 used to obtain information. A response is required within 14 days.

Here at Kingsley Smith Solicitors we can provide planning enforcement guidance, whatever the type of planning enforcement document you’ve received. We have the expertise to help the smallest householder as well as those on more of an industrial scale. We’re accustomed to liaising with local planning authorities and will work towards the very best result for you. Cases of concealment often turn on the available evidence, so it’s vital to seek advice as soon as possible.

If your case concerns a listed building, the appeals process may often be more sensitive than a standard appeal. At Kingsley Smith Solicitors we have the background knowledge and specific experience to take on cases such as these.

In addition, we are an authority on tree preservation orders and will be able to advise on the best course of action. Whenever a tree preservation order is issued, an objection or representation can be made within 28 days of the order and must be made to the local authority. They must allow these objections to be made, which can be made on any grounds. Browse our Servicess page for more detailed information.

If you feel you need more information before making a decision on an appeal, why not check out this government guide. Be aware though, it certainly cannot cover all the nuances of the elements, which lead to a successful appeal.