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        Planning enforcement

        What is planning enforcement?

        When development is carried out on a site without planning permission, the Council will use its powers to enforce planning law. The Council’s enforcement powers help it achieve the ambitions of the local community.

        The powers available to the Council as a Local Planning Authority are contained within the Town and Country Planning Acts.

        Advice is also provided in the planning enforcement circular 10/97 and policy advice is contained within Planning Policy Guidance Note 18 entitled ‘Enforcing Planning Control’.

        We also monitors section 106 Agreement compliance to ensure that monies are paid and obligations met.

        This enforcement function is discretionary and not a duty. It depends on the Council’s readiness to take effective enforcement action when it is essential.

        The Council will only take enforcement action if it is practical to do so when compared with the nature of the planning breach.

        This may be because the development

        • causes significant harm to public amenity or to an interest of acknowledged importance, such as the character or appearance of a conservation area or the setting of a listed buildingor
        • conflicts with
          • the Development Plan
          • Planning Policy
          • other corporate plans and policies

        The Council will also base its action on legal advice, considering the

        • the quality of evidence
        • likelihood of the success of taking such action,
        • the resource implications of taking action

        Enforcement action should always match the nature and size of the planning breach. It should not relate to a trivial or technical matter, if no harm is caused to amenity.

        When conducting its investigations, deciding on action and taking that action, the Council will ensure that it maintains the principles of fairness, honesty and openness.

        All action taken will be in accordance with the Human Rights Act and other relevant legislation.

        How is a planning decision enforced?

        When a breach of planning control is established the Council uses central government advice set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 18 (PPG18) to decide whether to take enforcement action. In particular, PPG18 says:

        ‘In considering any enforcement action, the decisive issue for the Local Planning Authority should be whether the breach of control would unacceptably affect public amenity or the existing use of and buildings, limiting protection in the public interest.’

        The Council will only take enforcement action if it is practical to do so when compared with the nature of the planning breach.

        This may be because the development

        • causes significant harm to public amenity or to an interest of acknowledged importance, such as the character or appearance of a conservation area or the setting of a listed building
        • or conflicts with
          • the Development Plan
          • Planning Policy
          • other corporate plans and policies

        The Council will also base its action on legal advice, considering the

        • the quality of evidence
        • likelihood of the success of taking such action,
        • the resource implications of taking action

        Enforcement action should always match the nature and size of the planning breach. It should not relate to a trivial or technical matter, if no harm is caused to amenity.

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