If it is found that a planning control has been breached, the LPA is required to take appropriate enforcement action, albeit within a certain time frame. With respect to building works and changing the use of a building to a single dwelling, the time limit for enforcement is four years. But with respect to all other breaches, the time limit is 10 years.
The LPA’s enforcement powers:
The LPA is vested with a wide range of enforcement powers, including:
- Enforcement Notice: This is a notice served on the person who is alleged to have committed the breach. It states details about the alleged breach, the steps to be taken to remedy the breach, and the time limit within which it should be remedied. The recipient is allowed to appeal against this notice, which is then suspended until the outcome of the appeal.
- Stop Notice: This can be served only with the enforcement notice. The aim is to order the developer to stop all activities mentioned in the notice until the outcome of the appeal to the enforcement notice is made known.
- Temporary Notice: This notice is issued to stop activity temporarily for a stipulated period until the LPA decides if action (on the activity) has to be taken permanently. This notice (and the stop notice) cannot be used to stop the use of the house as a dwelling house.
- Breach of Condition Notice: As the name suggests, the notice is issued when the LPA finds a breach of any condition mentioned in the consent. Unlike the enforcement notice, the recipient is not allowed to appeal against the service of this notice. Besides, defences available are also very limited.
Not complying with the enforcement or other notices is a criminal offence and is punishable with severe penalties.
Photo courtesy: ChicagoGeek