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

  • Planning—enforcement
  • Breach of planning control and enforcement action
  • Responsibility for enforcement action
  • Discretionary nature of enforcement action
  • Establishing whether breach of planning control has occurred
  • Enforcement time limits—considering whether immunity from enforcement can be established
  • Taking no action
  • Types of enforcement action
  • Appealing enforcement action
  • Non-compliance with enforcement action—criminal liability
  • more

Breach of planning control and enforcement action

For the purposes of Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990), a breach of planning control is subject to enforcement action. For these purposes, a breach of planning control means:

  1. carrying out development without the required planning permission—this inherently requires that unauthorised operations or a material change of use which constitute development within the meaning of TCPA 1990, s 55 have occurred, and that planning permission is required for that development and not been obtained. In deciding whether a breach of planning control has occurred within this context, the guidance and case law concerned with the meaning of ‘development’ will need to be followed, see Overview: Is planning permission required?

  2. failing to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted—this includes any of the limitations or conditions applied to individual permitted development rights in the Town and County Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, SI 2015/596

Responsibility for enforcement action

Responsibility for enforcing breaches of planning control is generally vested in the local planning authority (LPA). This is usually the district planning authority, but if the planning issue constitutes a 'county matter' (mainly development relating to mineral working), then the county planning authority will have exclusive jurisdiction. Where a unitary authority has been