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Enforcement notices

Enforcement action is defined by law as the issue of an Enforcement Notice or the service of a Breach of Condition Notice.

The notice shall include:

  • the nature of the alleged breach – being either development without planning permission, or failure to comply with any condition or limitation by which planning permission was granted
  • the land to which the notice relates
  • the matters that appear to constitute a breach of planning control
  • our reasons for issuing the notice, including relevant policies of the Development Plan
  • the date on which the notice will take effect – not less than 28 days after service
  • the steps that must be taken, or the activities that must stop, in order to remedy the breach or any injury to amenity it has caused
  • a reasonable period for compliance after the notice takes effect, considering the impact of the breach and allowing for the practicalities of carrying out the steps – different periods may be given for each step

The steps will be written clearly so they are easy to understand. This also makes it easier for us to check compliance and get a successful prosecution if the notice is not complied with.

Enforcement notice

The Enforcement Notice may require:

  • restoration of the land to its condition before the unlawful development took place
  • demolition or alteration of any building or works
  • an end to usage of the land
  • building works or other operations to be carried out

The purpose of these requirements will be either to:

  • remedy the breach by making the development comply with the terms – including any conditions or limitations – of any planning permission granted in respect of the land
  • remedy the breach by ending any unauthorised use of the land, or by restoring the land to its condition before the breach took place
  • remedy any injury to amenity that has been caused by the breach

Breach of condition notice

The Breach of Condition Notice (BCN) is for remedying a failure to comply with any condition or limitation that was set when planning permission was granted.

There is no right of appeal. The threat of prosecution may be sufficient to secure compliance with the condition or limitation. The BCN may be served alone or together with an Enforcement Notice.

In each case, when deciding whether to serve a BCN, we consider whether prosecution is likely to result in compliance with the condition(s). If not, an Enforcement Notice may be preferred.

The BCN shall include:

  • the steps that must be taken, or the activities that must stop, to secure compliance with the condition(s) – the BCN can only seek to secure full compliance with the condition(s)
  • a period for compliance, which will not be less than 28 days

Prosecution without first serving a notice

In certain circumstances, we can begin prosecution proceedings immediately, without having to serve a notice. These instances include:

  • unauthorised works to a listed building
  • damage to a tree covered by a tree preservation order or within a conservation area
  • damage to safeguarded hedgerows
  • unauthorised display of an advertisement