Planning - Enforcement definitions

Enforcement Notice

This is a legal Notice served by the Head of Legal services and is binding on those it is served upon and the land to which it relates. It is used to secure the cessation of unauthorised uses, operations or activities. An Enforcement Notice represents a legal charge on the property. If an appeal is submitted against the Notice before it comes into effect, it cannot then do so until the appeal is dismissed. It is an offence not to comply with the Notice within the specified time period. Issues pertaining to the validity of the Notice can be challenged within the High Court.

Failure to comply with an Enforcement Notice will result in prosecution. Prosecution runs the risk of a summary Conviction or a Conviction on Indictment and a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum. There is also a liability to pay the Council’s reasonable costs.

Breach of Condition Notice

A special form of enforcement action served by Planning Services where a breach or non-compliance with a condition attached to a planning permission has occurred. It is served upon those responsible for the breach. There is no right of appeal against this notice and it is an offence not to comply with it within the specified period. Issues pertaining to the validity of the Notice can be challenged within the High Court.

Failure to comply with a Breach of Condition Notice will result in prosecution within the Magistrates Court. There is a maximum penalty fine of £1000, but also a liability to pay the Council’s reasonable costs.

Section 215 Notice

A legal Notice used in association with untidy land. This Notice is served by the Head of Legal Services and is binding upon whom it is served and the land to which it relates. A Notice represents a land charge on the property. Its purpose is to secure the tidying of a site in the interests of the amenities of an area. If an appeal is submitted against the Notice before it comes into effect, it cannot be enforced until the appeal is determined by the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court in the case of a further appeal. It is an offence not to comply with the Notice within the specified period.

Failure to comply with a Section 215 Notice will result in prosecution within the Magistrates Court. There is a maximum level 3 penalty fine on the standard scale, but also a liability to pay the Council’s reasonable costs.

Temporary Stop Notice and Stop Notices

This Notice is to be used in instances whereby the Local Planning Authority consider there to be a breach of planning control for which it is expedient to stop immediately. The notice is binding upon the person carrying out the activity and the land to which it relates.

Failure to comply with the requirements of a Stop Notice is an offence, prosecution may result in a charge per day or longer period of time as applicable and an offender may be convicted more than once for the same offence. Convictions are in the form of a Summary Conviction, with a maximum fine of £20,000 or a Conviction on Indictment subject to a fine and potentially the reasonable costs of the Council.

Planning Contravention Notices (PCN)

A PCN is not a legal land charge and is served by Planning Services, it is in essence a formal questionnaire used by the Local Planning Authority to obtain information pertaining to the use of land/building or works carried out, or even ownership details. There is a binding timescale of 21 days to reply to the Notice and failure to do so is an offence.

Prosecution upon failure to respond to a Notice is liable to a maximum £1000 fine and potentially the reasonable costs of the Council.