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Enforcement Action


If we have not been able to come to a solution together we may have to take enforcement action. If we think that the breach results in significant harm being caused we will assess what type of formal action to take.

Formal action

Formal action can be taken in several forms, including:

An enforcement notice. If you don’t agree with it you can appeal it. You must appeal to The Planning Inspectorate before the notice takes effect. The Planning Inspectorate will decide on the appeal and has the power to grant planning permission for all or part of the development.

A stop notice. This stops the work from continuing. The stop notice will still take effect even if an appeal has been put in.

A temporary stop notice. This does not need an enforcement notice to be issued. The notice normally lasts for 28 days and takes effect immediately.

A breach of condition notice. This is if a condition of planning permission has been breached. The notice happens immediately and can only be appealed through the High Court.

Prosecution

It is a criminal offence to breach a formal notice. If this happens we can consider whether it is in the public interest to start court proceedings. In some cases we can start court proceedings for unauthorised works without having to serve any formal notices. We are able to do this for unauthorised works to a listed building or a protective tree or an unauthorised advertisement.

If prosecution is likely we will consult our legal section. We have to ensure there is sufficient and reliable evidence that the offence has been committed. A prosecution will only go ahead if this is in the public interest.

Injunction

We can apply to the County Court or High Court for an injunction to stop a breach of planning even when the identity of the person is unknown. We can seek an injunction even if other enforcement action has been taken. If you don’t comply with an injunction it can lead to an unlimited fine and/or prison.

Direct action

We have the power in certain circumstances, and as a last resort, to make sure an enforcement notice is complied with by carrying out the required steps ourselves. We can recover all the costs incurred from the owner. If we cannot immediately recover the costs we will register a charge on the property with the HM Land Registry.

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