Planning Enforcement

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Enforcement Letter - Council Negotiation

  • Initially, you may receive a letter suggesting a breach on site has occurred. A site visit may be conducted, or the Council may state you have 28 days to regularise the breach.
  • In these early stages, we can represent you as planning agent and contact the Council to negotiate. What can be done to resolve the situation?
  • In many cases, a planning application or a certificate of lawfulness can be submitted to regularise the breach. With our assistance, we can explore alternative options and come to an agreement with the Council.
  • Ultimately, our involvement at this early stage can pre-empt any formal enforcement action and devise the best strategy for you. 

Certificate of Lawfulness

  • A certificate of lawfulness may be submitted in some instances, where it can be proved that:
    a) The development has been used as a dwelling house for 4 years or operational works were carried out over 4 years ago or,
    b) any other development or change of use occurred 10 years ago
  • Obtaining a certificate, will effectively prove that the development is lawful.
  • To build our case, statutory Declarations should be provided, in addition to photographic evidence or any other documentation that can demonstrate a continuous, 4 or 10 year period.

PCN - Planning Contravention notice

  • The Planning Contravention Notice (PCN) will take the form of a questionnaire. With a series of questions from the Council intended to investigate the alleged breach or breaches occurring on site.
  • We can provide guidance and answers to questions the Enforcement team may have, in a co-operative manner that will help our overall strategy.

Enforcement Notice

  • An Enforcement Notice, is issued when the Council believes an alleged breach has taken place on site, with building operations or the use of land occurring without planning permission in place.
  • Once a notice is issued, there is a 28-day period to submit an Enforcement appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. If no appeal is made, the notice must be complied with or you could face criminal prosecution and a fine.
  • An Enforcement Notice will provide reasons  why it has been issued and steps for compliance to resolve the alleged breach of planning control. These steps often include demolition or expensive building operations, which could massively impact your income or livelihood. 
  • We can appeal the notice on grounds (a-g) which include:
  • Ground (a) – that planning permission ought to be granted for the development (or if the enforcement notice relates to the breach of a condition on a planning permission, that condition should be removed from the permission);
  • Ground (b) – that the breach of planning control alleged in the enforcement notice has not occurred;
  • Ground (c) – that the alleged breach of planning control does not in fact require planning permission;
  • Ground (d) – that it is too late for the authority to serve an enforcement notice, i.e. for building and other operations and for the use of a property or part of one as a single dwelling the breach of planning control occurred more than 4 years ago or for other breaches more than 10 years ago;
  • Ground (e) – Copies of the enforcement notice were not properly served on the relevant parties, i.e. the landowner, occupiers and those with an interest in the land;
  • Ground (f) – that the steps for compliance required by the notice are excessive; and
  • Ground (g) – that the period for compliance with the notice is too short.
  • Receiving an Enforcement Notice can be daunting, but once the Notice has been issued, it is a time-sensitive situation, so please get in touch with our specialist Enforcement Team.

At ET Planning we have a team of experienced planning professionals who have spent much of their careers, dealing with a variety of complex enforcement matters and appeals for both Local Authorities, as well as representing private clients.

If you would like ET Planning to assist you with an Enforcement Letter or a Notice, we can intervene at any stage of the process. Please do not hesitate to get in touch on 01344 508048 or email us at

Whatever you do – don’t ignore it!

Get in Contact

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