Deliberate concealment of planning breaches
Deliberate concealment of planning breaches

The following Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Deliberate concealment of planning breaches
  • Summary of enforcement time limits
  • The common law position on deliberate concealment
  • Planning enforcement orders under the TCPA 1990
  • Application of both Welwyn and ss 171BA–171BC

Summary of enforcement time limits

Section 171B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990) sets out time limits, after which no enforcement action in respect of a breach of planning control can be taken, unless there has been deliberate concealment of the breach. The time periods are:

  1. four years beginning with the date on which the operations were substantially completed, in respect of a breach consisting of the carrying out without planning permission of building, engineering, mining, or other operations in, on, over or under land (see Practice Note: Substantial completion and planning enforcement for more information on the legal test for substantial completion)

  2. four years beginning with the date of the breach, in respect of a breach consisting in the change of use of any building to use as a single dwellinghouse, and

  3. ten years beginning with the date of the breach, in respect of any other breach of planning control

There is no restriction on when enforcement action may be taken in relation to demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area carried out without planning permission or in breach of a condition of that planning permission. See Practice Note: Planning—enforcement.

The common law position on deliberate concealment

Fidler concerned a house constructed in the green belt in a clandestine fashion.