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Submit your case

Prepare and collate together

Give a brief summary of the possible breaches, along with:

  • The recorded information
  • Any petitions
  • Copies of other letters of objection if you have them

send this to the enforcement officer and request that enforcement action be taken.

Copy the letter to the local councillors

Government policy on enforcing planning control states that in most cases the local authority should contact the people responsible for the unauthorised development to ask them to apply for retrospective planning permission or a certificate of lawful use (see the 'Be Sure Its a Breach' page for more details on certificates of lawful use).

You should be prepared to make relevant arguments as to why the development is unsuitable for the particular location you are concerned about.

Once a planning application is submitted, you can use the CPRE guide 'How to respond to planning applications'.

Local planning authorities can serve a range of notices to deal with breaches of planning control.

There is a right of appeal to the Secretary of State against one of these, the Enforcement Notice.

The applicant must submit the appeal to reach the Secretary of State within 28 days, when the Notice will otherwise take effect.

The procedures for such appeals are otherwise broadly similar to those for other planning appeals.

There are a number of ways in which a local authority can take action against a planning breach without being liable to a planning appeal.

  • When the landowner claims he has planning permission, the local authority can serve a Planning Contravention Notice as a way to find out more information about what is happening, and then use this as a basis for further action. Failing to comply with the notice within the specified time period (usually 28 days) is an offence. The serving of this notice does not constitute enforcement action in law, meaning that one of the other types of enforcement action must be taken if the planning breach continues.
  • When the activity clearly doesn't have planning permission, the local authority can serve a Temporary Stop Notice. This can make all or any of the activities happening on the land an offence, with immediate effect and for a period of 28 days.
  • Temporary Stop Notices cannot normally be renewed. The local authority can be liable for costs if the activity being stopped is covered by an existing planning permission. Thus it can often be useful to have served a Planning Contravention Notice first.
  • In case either of these actions fails to stop the planning breach, you should pressure the local authority to serve either a full Enforcement Notice or an injunction. If the local authority still refuses to do so, you should take your case to your MP and the Ombudsman.