Sometimes applicants are unaware that the development that has been carried out requires planning permission and the first they know about it is when they receive a letter from the Council's Planning Enforcement Team threatening enforcement action.

We are able to offer advice and assistance regarding the submission of retrospective planning applications as well as the options available should you be served with an Enforcement Notice.

If you’ve received an enforcement notice  you must appeal within 28 days of the notice.

It can take up to 36 weeks for a decision to be made.

You can appeal on the following grounds: 

Ground (a) - that planning permission should be granted for what is alleged in the notice (or that the condition or limitation referred to in the enforcement notice should be removed)

Ground (b) - that the breach of control alleged in the enforcement notice has not occurred as a matter of fact

Ground (c) - that there has not been a breach of planning control;In their appeal statement the appellant may wish to put forward the case that the development that has taken place or the development that they propose: 

  • does not amount to development, under section 55 of the Act,or that the change of use is not a material one (i.e. it is not subject to the requirements of planning control); 
  • is permitted by the Town and Country Planning (GeneralPermitted Development) (England) Order 2015, or that the change of use is permitted by the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended);
  • has been done or carried out in accordance with a planning permission. 

Ground (d) – that at the time the enforcement notice was issued it was too late to take enforcement action against the matters stated in the notice; has become lawful as it is too late for the local planning authority to take enforcement action. The time limits are as follows: 

  • section 171B(1) of the Act gives a 4 year time limit from the date of the breach of planning control involving development for operational development such as building, mining or engineering works;
  • section 171B(2) gives a 4 year time limit from the date of the breach of planning control for change of use from a building/part of a building to a single dwellinghouse. This time limit applies either where the change of use to a single dwellinghouse involves development without planning permission, or where it involves a failure to comply with a condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted;
  • section 171B(3) gives a 10 year time limit for any other change from the date of the breach. This applies to changes of use and to breaches of any conditions attached to previous planning permissions.  

Any evidence supporting a claim for use has to show a continuous period of use for the relevant 4 or 10 year period. In some cases it may not be possible to rely on the fact that development has taken place continuously for the relevant 4 or 10 year periods, where acts of deliberate concealment have successfully prevented discovery of the breach of planning control.  The onus of proof is on an appellant. The test to be achieved is ‘on the balance of probability’ (a lesser requirement than ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’).

Ground (e) – that the notice was not properly served on everyone with an interest in the land;

Ground (f) - that the steps required by the notice to be taken, or the activities required by the notice to cease, exceed what is necessary to remedy any breach of planning control which may be constituted by those matters or, as the case may be, to remedy any injury to amenity which has been caused by any such breach”;

Ground (g) – that the time given to comply with the notice is too short.