The integrity of the development and building control process depends on the Councils readiness to take enforcement action when it is considered essential to do so. The Council accepts that rapid initiation of enforcement action is vital to prevent a breach of planning and building control from becoming well-established and more difficult to remedy.
The Council recognises the importance of establishing effective controls over unauthorised development, undertaken in accordance with the advice contained in Planning Policy Guidance Note No.18, the Department of the Environment Circular 10/97, and under Sections 35 and 36 of the Building Act 1984. The formulation of an Enforcement Policy is essential in order to promote and maintain effective and efficient working practices in the enforcement of planning and building control.
The Council will not condone wilful breaches of planning law or the Building Act, and will exercise its discretion to take enforcement action if it is considered expedient to do so.
Assessing a breach of planning control
As local planning authority, the Council shall exercise all reasonable powers granted under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) and the Building Act 1984 and Building Regulations 2000, including all other subordinate legislation, to effectively control unauthorised development. In considering whether it is expedient to initiate enforcement action, the Council shall pay due regard to the policies of the Council in force, and to all other material considerations.
In considering enforcement action, the Council will assess whether the breach of control unacceptably affects public amenity or causes harm to land, people or buildings.
The Council's approach to unauthorised development
The Council will attempt to persuade an owner or occupier of land to voluntarily remedy any harmful effects of unauthorised development. The Council will not allow negotiations to hamper or delay formal enforcement action that may be required to make the development more acceptable, or to compel it to stop.
Enforcement action shall always be commensurate with the breach of control to which it relates, and formal enforcement action against a trivial breach of control, breaches that cause no harm to amenity, health, safety and welfare, will not normally be taken.
Where development has been carried out without consent, and the development could be made acceptable by imposing conditions to remedy any injury the development may have caused, an application for retrospective permission shall be requested to be submitted within a reasonable period of time.
Tell us about unauthorised development
If think a development has not been built in accordance with the planning permission that has been granted for the development, you can tell us about it online by completing the planning enforcements complaints form.
Compliance with planning conditions
Often permission is granted with conditions which are designed to improve the development, and when those conditions have not been complied with within a specified period, consideration will be given as to whether it is appropriate to issue an enforcement notice for non compliance.
Where the development provides local employment, the Council will advise the owner or occupier how long the activity or operation shall be allowed to continue or to be reduced to an acceptable level of intensity. If agreement cannot be reached an enforcement notice shall be issued allowing a realistic compliance period for the unauthorised activity or operation to cease, or its scale to be reduced.
Unauthorised development to listed buildings
Where works to a listed building have been undertaken without obtaining consent, an offence may have been committed. Subject to the gravity of the works undertaken consideration will be given to the initiation of criminal proceedings and/or the serve of a listed building enforcement notice to ensure remedial works are undertaken.
Display of illegal advertisements
The Town and Country Planning (Control) of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 permits the display of certain classes of advertisements without the need to obtain specific express consent. The display of advertisements not requiring express consent may be displayed under the deemed consent provisions.
Where an advertisement has been displayed which requires express consent but has not been obtained, the advertisement contravenes the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992. Under the provisions of S244 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), an advertisement which is displayed in contravention of the Regulations constitutes an offence. Where the advertisement causes serious harm to the amenity or in the interests of public safety, a request will be made to secure its removal within a specified period. If the advertisement continues to be displayed after this period, formal proceedings will be considered.
In considering any action to secure the removal of any advertisement, due regard will be paid to the advice contained in Planning Policy Guidance Note No. 19 (Outdoor Advertisement Control).
Derelict or unsightly land or buildings
The condition of certain buildings or land often causes serious harm to the visual amenity of an area. Consideration will be given to serving a notice under the provisions of S215 of the Town and Country Planning 1990, which will specify those steps required to remedy the appearance of the building or land. If those steps are not undertaken within a specified period, the Council may enter the land and carry out those works.
Retrospective planning and building regulations applications
Nothing in the Planning Guidance Note No. 18 (Enforcing Planning Control) or within the Building Act, condones a wilful breach of control. The submission of a retrospective application by an owner or occupier of land should not be encouraged where development is unacceptable and causes serious harm to amenity and where the Council is likely to initiate enforcement action. The submission of a retrospective application shall not deter the Council from taking enforcement action.
When a retrospective application has been refused and enforcement action has not already been taken in accordance with the Council s enforcement policies, the applicant shall be advised that an enforcement notice will be issued.
Monitoring development, conditions and S106 agreements
Effective controls are necessary to ensure development is carried out strictly in accordance with approved plans. The main problems that may be encountered are incorrect siting; inadequate protection to existing trees and hedgerows; inappropriate use of materials and inadequate hard and soft landscaping/boundary treatment.
Certain areas of concern that need to be addressed during the development process may be subject to conditions imposed on the permission. However, there is no point imposing conditions on permission where there are no effective monitoring procedures.
Current legislation does not require a developer to notify the local planning authority of the commencement of development. Effective monitoring shall require close liaison within the Partnership. It is a requirement under the Building Regulations to notify the Council at certain stages of the work and information is exchanged on a weekly basis of building regulation applications, commencement dates and completion dates. Where an independent development inspector has been appointed, e.g. NHBC, building control shall advise receipt of the Initial Notification of Development notice.
Procedures shall be introduced to ensure effective control is maintained over development progress and the satisfactory implementation and discharge of conditions.
An agreement under S106 of the Town & Country Planning Act may have been entered into for the development. This Agreement may require certain works, conditions or payment of monies before, during or on completion of development.
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