Substantial completion and planning enforcement
Substantial completion and planning enforcement

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

  • Substantial completion and planning enforcement
  • Guidance
  • Time limits for issuing an enforcement notice
  • Meaning of ‘substantially completed’
  • Holistic Approach
  • Evidence of what was originally contemplated
  • Distinct elements within a large-scale development
  • Concealment

Guidance

Guidance on enforcement in respect of breaches of planning control is set out in Planning Practice Guidance.

Time limits for issuing an enforcement notice

Enforcement action in respect of all breaches of planning control is subject to time limits.

These limits are:

  1. for operational development, four years from the date on which the operations were ‘substantially completed’

  2. for breaches of planning control consisting of the change of use of any building to ‘use as a single dwelling house’, four years from the date of the breach

  3. in the case of any other breach of planning control, ten years from the date of the breach

Therefore, in respect of operational development, in order to determine whether a breach of planning control can be the subject of enforcement action, it is necessary to determine the date on which the operations were ‘substantially completed’.

Meaning of ‘substantially completed’

The term 'substantially completed' is used in TCPA 1990, s 171B. However, there is no statutory definition of ‘substantially completed’.

Former Circular 10/97 (replaced by the Planning Practice Guidance) stated that the meaning of ’substantially completed' must always be decided as a matter of fact and degree. It is therefore not possible to define precisely what is meant by the term 'substantially completed'‘ and ‘all the relevant circumstances must be considered in every case’.

Accordingly