What is Planning Enforcement?
Enforcement is the policing of the planning system and aims to ensure that:
- Development, including building works and changes of use, are only carried out with the necessary planning permission (where necessary).
- Where permission has been granted, all the conditions have been complied with.
- Other areas of planning control are not breached (e.g. Advertisements, Conservation Areas, Listed Buildings, Protected Trees).
Enforcement is a discretionary power – it is not something that automatically happens. Wherever possible, we will attempt to resolve breaches of planning control without instigating formal or legal action, but by negotiation and voluntary action by the person(s) concerned. This is usually successful. However, if no progress is made, formal action may be taken under the legislation provided by The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (or as amended).
We will carry out our enforcement activities in a fair, equitable and consistent manner, in accordance with guidance issued by Central Government and with due regard to the Human Rights Act 1998.
If you Want to Make a Complaint
Complaints should preferably be made in writing, email or by completion of a complaint form. We acknowledge complaints within 3 working days. We then carry out a site visit to investigate the complaint (usually within 15 days). Sometimes it takes time to establish if there is a breach of control. We endeavour to inform you of our findings. In writing and advise of what action the Council intend to take if any. We will treat ALL complaints in the strictest of confidence.
If you are Involved in a Breach of Planning Control
- To establish adequate and reliable information about alleged or suspected breaches of planning control, we often need to liaise direct with the persons thought to be responsible. Usually we find such information is forthcoming from them through correspondence and discussion. If necessary, however, we will use our statutory powers to formally require such information.
- If our investigations confirm that a clearly defined and enforceable breach has taken place, we quickly inform the persons believed to be responsible. We tell them what is wrong and the voluntary action they should take to correct it. A specific time limit is given and we tell them the consequences of formal action if it is taken.
- If the breach is not remedied by voluntary action we will consider taking formal action. However, we must consider whether it is expedient to take such action. For instance, we will not pursue formal action if it is likely that planning permission will be granted for the unauthorised development, or if it is only a trivial or technical breach of planning control.
- If we decide to take formal action against a breach, we will need authority from Legal and senior Council officers and this is sought in line with Corby Borough Council constitution. With breaches involving listed buildings, trees or advertisements, we may be able to take prosecution action straight away; without the need to issue an Enforcement Notice.
Planning Enforcement Action
The Town and Country Planning Act (1990) now provides local councils with the power to issue various notices in relation to breaches of planning control.
- Enforcement Notice: Used in cases involving building works and changes of use undertaken without the necessary planning permission, and also as an alternative to a Breach of Condition Notice
- Breach of Condition Notice: Used for breaches involving failure to comply with requirements of a condition on a planning permission. There is no right to appeal against this notice.
- Stop Notice: Used with an Enforcement Notice to bring about an immediate stop to serious breaches of planning control.
- Temporary Stop Notice (TSN): A Temporary Stop Notice takes effect immediately upon issuing and lasts for 28 days. There is an automatic claim for compensation if a TSN is incorrectly served or withdrawn.
- Section 215 Notice: Used to require improvements to the appearance or condition of land when its condition harms the amenity of the area.
- Planning Contravention Notice: Issued to obtain information relating to an alleged breach.
- Section 330 Notice: Issued to establish the ownership of land or buildings being investigated or anyone having an interest in the land. It is used before issuing an Enforcement Notice.
What if the notice is Appealed?
Except in the case of a Breach of Condition Notice, persons on whom Enforcement Notices are served have the right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. This must be done within 28 days of the Enforcement Notice being served. The requirements of the Enforcement Notice is held in abeyance until the appeal is decided. There are three methods of dealing with an appeal(s):
- Written Representation
- Public Inquiry
- Informal Hearing
Whichever method is used we inform complainants of the appeal and give them the opportunity to send their views to the Planning Inspectorate and attend or appear at any hearing or inquiry. Fees are due for Enforcement Appeals by each person lodging an appeal. For further information contact Planning Services.
What if the notice is not complied with?
It is an offence to fail to comply with a valid Enforcement Notice, and it is our policy to seek a prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court in such cases. As a last resort, we may enter the land and take direct action to carry out the works required by an Enforcement Notice and recover the costs from the landowner. In exceptional cases, we can seek an injunction to ensure that a notice is complied with. Breach of an injunction can result in a considerable fine and/or imprisonment.
Note: The Council’s planning powers, including enforcement action, are taken under planning laws. The Council has additional powers, such as under Environmental Health or Building Control laws. In carrying out works, permission or action under planning powers does not necessarily mean that permission or action will be forthcoming or withdrawn under those other powers, and vice versa.
Who to Contact
Corby Borough Council
New Post Office Square
Northants NN17 1GD
For telephone or personal enquiries, the offices are open from Monday to Friday each week (except for public and other holidays), between the following times:
Monday to Friday 8.40am – 5.00pm