- High Court clarifies the purpose and scope of planning enforcement orders (Re Payne v Secretary of State for Levelling Up Housing and Communities)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Dispute Resolution analysis: Where there has been an apparent breach of planning control that has been deliberately concealed a planning authority can apply to a magistrates’ court for a planning enforcement order pursuant to the provisions of sections 171BA–171BC of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Such order will permit the authority to take enforcement action within a year following 22 days of the order notwithstanding any expiry of the statutory time limits for enforcement. An issue for the court was whether the benefit of a planning enforcement order in relation to the planning immunity could apply to all uses in a mixed uses planning unit where the apparent breach specified in the order was only one of the mixed uses. In giving judgement, Mrs Justice Lang stated that the provisions for planning enforcement orders are intended to operate only where a use has been concealed and not for other uses which were not concealed. Therefore, where a change to a mix of uses would otherwise be immune from enforcement by virtue of the statutory time limits, an order made in respect of one of the uses does not affect the operation of the statutory time limits in respect of the remaining uses. The order is confined to the specified breach and goes no further. Written by Brendon Lee, senior associate at HCR Hewitsons LLP.
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