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Breach of planning control? Served with an Enforcement Notice?

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Obtaining planning permission is an imperative step for constructing new dwellings, stores, business facilities and other structures. Furthermore, when repurposing land or existing buildings the same requirement applies – compelling individuals to obtain legal authorization before progressing any further with their projects.

With enforcement action as a last resort, we strive for an amicable resolution to any unauthorised development first. We’ll work with you in seeking the ideal solution through negotiation or permits. However, if permission is refused and necessary corrective measures are required from you – such as restoration of the property back to its original condition- then an Enforcement Notice will be issued outlining what has been agreed upon within it.

Breaches of planning control

If you’re doing any work on your property or land, it’s important to ensure that the necessary permissions have been obtained. This may include planning permission for things such as constructing an extension to a house or converting outbuildings into living spaces. Failure to do so could be considered a breach of local regulations and result in serious consequences.

  • Illegal construction is on the rise, as development activities are taking place without adhering to legally-sanctioned planning permission protocols. This can have serious repercussions for both property owners and municipal authorities alike.
  • Unauthorized alterations of usage can have a drastic effect on the environment and property. Such modifications must be carefully considered to ensure they are both responsible and safe for all involved.
  • Failing to adhere to the conditions outlined in planning permission can have serious ramifications; ignoring them may result in formal action being taken against you.
  • Plans may be approved, but that doesn’t mean work is necessarily being done properly. All too often the construction process strays from accepted standards of excellence — and thus deviates from planners’ intentions.
  • Unauthorized alterations to historic architecture can have dire consequences, as any changes made without listed building consent may contravene regulations protecting the structure and its heritage.
  • Display of unauthorised advertisements.
  • The removal of a tree through felling is subject to strict regulations, especially when the said tree sits in a Conservation Area or has been subjected to Tree Preservation Order. Care should be taken so as not to damage nature’s delicate balance!

Enforcement Action

Planning laws have strict guidelines that, when violated, can result in legal action. However, there are some activities that are not infringing on any prohibited regulations and therefore cannot be punishable. These include things such as changing the use of an existing building or parking a vehicle near certain types of structures.

  • Illegal parking of commercial vehicles in populous areas such as highways, neighbourhoods, or even lawns poses a huge risk to the public and environment due to its hazardous consequences. By abiding by local regulations and avoiding illegal parking spots – businesses can help maintain safety for everyone involved.
  • Operating a business from home doesn’t have to create problems – when done correctly, it can provide an ideal environment with no negative effects on those enjoying the residential amenities.
  • Boundary disputes can create significant tension between neighbors, particularly when rights of way are blocked. It is important to ensure that all parties have the resources needed for a fair and peaceful resolution.
  • Revitalizing a piece of land by removing the overgrowth, shrubbery and trees that do not require special protection.

Considerations before enforcement action

  • Is consent from planning legislation necessary for the project’s success? Consider whether your work requires government approval before progressing.
  • Homeowners and business owners can take advantage of certain “permitted developments” to make minor building alterations – such as changing the use of existing space or displaying an advertisement sign – without needing approval from local authorities.
  • Have you already secured the necessary permissions? Generally speaking, planning permissions remain valid for three years after they’re granted. Once initiated, there’s no rush to complete them – so take your time!
  • Is the issue at hand dire enough to require a response?
  • Without official authorization, are the proposed activities compliant with urban planning regulations?
  • To ensure that areas remain safe and desirable for community members, strategic planning enforcement is crucial. With undesirable activity or development posing potential threats, it’s important to take action in a timely manner to maintain the well-being of all involved.

To investigate the suspected development, a Planning Department staff member will be dispatched to survey whether any regulations were contravened. Several measures can then be taken – it’s up to us to decide how best this delicate situation should proceed.

  • An invitation to bring the activity back in line with regulations is extended, providing a chance to make it right.
  • Take action and issue a Planning Contravention Notice to gain insight into the situation. Doing so provides us with valuable information that will equip us as we decide how best to proceed.
  • Issue an Enforcement Notice if no compliance with planning regulations is found. This action takes into account the development plan, along with other important factors that should have been assessed prior to granting permission.
  • A Stop Notice should be issued if an unauthorized activity has to cease right away because of its effect on public safety or similar matters. This powerful tool can only be used in especially dire circumstances.
  • Issue a Breach of Condition Notice.
  • Injunctions.

The Enforcement Process

Registration and processing

  • We take complaints seriously! Within 48 hours of receiving a complaint, we will make sure to log the report and communicate our appreciation for it in writing; even if the complainant’s identity is unknown or sent via telephone.
  • You’ll stay informed about meaningful advances and actions as they happen.
  • If planning regulations appear to have been violated, our usual course of action is to try and resolve the issue informally. However, if that does not work out we may decide whether or not formal enforcement measures are necessary – which will be accompanied by an explanation for the decision made.
  • When warranted by the circumstances, Planning Applications Committee members will discuss the authorization of specific actions. These include Enforcement Notices, Breach of Condition Notices and Injunctions – all enforceable legal documents which demand compliance from recipients or face court proceedings initiated by us.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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