Planning Enforcement - Formal Enforcement Action

Formal enforcement action is the issue of an Enforcement Notice or the service of a Breach of Conditions Notice. Failure to comply with either constitutes an offence.

Any action taken will be proportionate with the breach of planning control to which it relates.

Legally, we have to consider retrospective planning applications, even when it appears unlikely that planning permission would be granted. If this approach is unsuccessful, or if a retrospective application is refused, we will then consider enforcement action. Wherever possible, we try to resolve matters informally. The decision to take formal action is based on the seriousness of the breach.

If we decide to take enforcement action, this involves serving an enforcement notice requiring the unauthorised work to be removed, or the activity to cease, within a specific timeframe.

The recipient of an enforcement notice can either:

  • Comply with the requirements of the enforcement notice
  • Appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government within 28 days, in which case the requirements of the enforcement notice are suspended until the appeal has been determined or withdrawn.

It is an offence not to comply with an enforcement notice. If the offender is found guilty in a Magistrate’s Court, there is currently a maximum fine of £20,000. At a Crown Court, there is no limit to the fine that could be imposed.

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