A Lesson Learned in Planning Enforcement

Kirklees Council has released details of a case that provides an important lesson in failing to take notice of a planning enforcement order. 

A man residing in West Yorkshire ignored a planning enforcement notice and continued to sell and store vehicles on Green Belt land.  Kirklees Council took further action and the man was ordered to pay back nearly £225,000.00 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.  He was also ordered to pay approximately £10,000.00 towards the prosecution costs and fined £650.00 for each offence (which totaled £4,550.00).

This case represents the extensive powers that are open to Local Planning Authorities should parties fail to comply with the requirements contained in enforcement notices.

It must however be noted that receipt of a planning enforcement notice does not automatically mean that the recipient must comply with its terms.  It is possible to appeal to the Secretary of State against such a notice, which (provided the appeal is made in time) will have the effect of suspending the enforcement notice until the appeal is concluded. 

The fact that the planning enforcement notice has been suspended does not necessarily mean that the activity that is considered in breach of planning law can continue, as in the majority of cases the Local Authority will also serve a Stop Notice.  A Stop Notice is not subject to a right of appeal, although it is subject to judicial review, which can be a costly and time consuming procedure.  It is however possible to claim compensation for loss or damage that is directly attributable to the prohibition should the planning enforcement notice be for example quashed on appeal.

Where the offending activity relates to a breach of a planning condition within an extant planning permission the Local Authority will often serve a Breach of Condition Notice as opposed to a planning enforcement notice.  This is principally due to the fact that, as with a Stop Notice, a Breach of Condition Notice is not open to an appeal to the Secretary of State and can only be challenged by judicial review   

Ultimately, the advice remains that if a planning enforcement order is received then this either needs to be adhered to without delay or advice taken on whether it is capable of being the subject of an appeal as to ignore such a notice can lead to significant penalties.

Posted on: 30/07/2014

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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