We aim to avoid restricting the freedom of landowners, while maintaining the integrity of the built environment and allowing residents to live in comfort.
When works are carried out without the correct permissions it is a breach of planning control. The council can take several different types of formal planning enforcement action when rules have been broken.
If it is decided that the planning rules have been broken, Planning Enforcement will investigate the matter in line with our Planning Enforcement Protocol. This might involve negotiating a resolution by requesting a retrospective planning application or that works are carried out to resolve the issue/s. If those responsible are unable to satisfactorily resolve the matter, we may decide to take formal action.
Although many cases can be resolved informally, the council often has to take action. We serve many notices every year, as well as starting legal proceedings including prosecutions and injunctions.
Sections in this guide (click title to view)
- 1. Types of formal enforcement action
- 2. Planning enforcement protocol document
- 3. Planning enforcement appeals
1. Types of formal enforcement action
An enforcement notice may be served where the council believes there has been a breach of planning control involving an unauthorised material change of use, operational development or breach of a condition. The enforcement notice will state the reasons for action being taken and specify the steps which the council require to be taken in order to remedy the breach. There is a right of appeal against an enforcement notice.
Breach of Condition Notices (BCN)
A Breach of Condition Notice (BCN) may be served where a condition attached to a planning permission is not being complied with. The BCN will specify the steps which the council require to be taken in order to secure compliance with the condition. There is no right of appeal against a BCN.
In certain cases, a Stop Notice can be served in order to cease an unauthorised activity on the land. A Stop Notice can only be served at the same time as, or after the service of an enforcement notice. There is no right of appeal against a stop notice, only the enforcement notice to which it is attached. The council will be at risk of compensation if it is used in inappropriate cases.
Temporary Stop Notices (TSN)
In certain cases, a TSN can be served before an enforcement notice has been served in order to cease an unauthorised activity on the land. These notices remain in effect only for a maximum of 28 days.
Section 215 Notices
Where the condition of land is adversely affecting the amenity of the area, the council may serve a notice under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 requiring the proper maintenance of land. The Section 215 Notice will specify the steps that the council require to be taken in order to remedy the condition of the land. There is a right of appeal in the Magistrate's Court against a Section 215 Notice.
Tree Replacement Notices
Where a protected tree is removed, uprooted, or destroyed without prior consent, the LPA can serve a tree replacement notice requiring, within a specified period, the replanting of a tree of a specified size and species. There is a right of appeal against a Tree Replacement Notice.
Planning Contravention Notices (PCN)
Where it appears as though there may have been a breach of planning control in respect of any land, the council may serve a Planning Contravention Notice (PCN) requiring information about activities on land. There is no right of appeal against a PCN and failure to respond is an offence.
Section 330 Notices
To enable the council to exercise other powers, they may serve a notice under Section 330 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 requiring information as to interests in land, including ownership and occupation details. There is no right of appeal against a Section 330 Notice and failure to respond is an offence.
Advertisement Removal Notices
Where an advertisement is erected without consent the council can, in certain instances, serve notices under Section 225 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended by Section 10 of the London Local Authorities Act 1995) and/or Section 11 of the London Local Authorities Act 1995, requiring their removal - Section 10 and Section 11 Notices. There is no right of appeal against these notices.
The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 allows the council to serve a discontinuance notice against any advertisement, or the use of any advertisement site, which normally has the benefit of deemed or express consent. There is a right of appeal against a discontinuance notice.
Notice of Intended Entry
This notice is formal confirmation of the council's intention to enter land without a warrant. If entry to the land (or any part of it) is refused, that person obstructing the officers will be committing an offence and the council will obtain a warrant to gain entry. There is no right of appeal against a notice of intended entry.
In accordance with Section 188 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the planning division holds a register of all enforcement notices, stop notices and breach of condition notices served in the borough. This is available to view by the public.
If you want to arrange to view the register, please contact us:
Phoenix House, 10 Wandsworth Road
London SW8 2LL
Enforcement Notice Compliance Certificates (ENCC)
You can request an ENCC to confirm whether or not a planning enforcement notice has been complied with. This provides written confirmation that, so far as the council have been able to ascertain, the requirements of a notice were, or were not, fully complied with on a particular date. This can be helpful if you are intending to sell a property where a notice has been served on it, with potential to speed up conveyancing and the sale process. It can also provide owners with peace of mind.
The service attracts a fee and may require a site visit which we will arrange with you. If you would like to request an ENCC, please email the planning enforcement team. Once we have issued an ENCC we can consider the withdrawal of the notice for a further fee if required.
2. Planning enforcement protocol document
Our Planning Enforcement Protocol sets out our processes for handling investigations into alleged breaches of planning control. It has been written to help all of those involved understand the steps involved in the enforcement process.
3. Planning enforcement appeals
There is a statutory right of appeal against enforcement notices served by the Local Planning Authority. Anyone with an interest in the land, even if they have not been issued with a copy of the notice, can make an appeal - this normally means the owner, tenant or leaseholder of the property.
Anyone who is not the person making the appeal or the Local Planning Authority also has the right to take part and make formal comments on the appeal.
How to make an appeal
If you want to make an appeal against a notice served by the Local Planning Authority, you must do so before the date when the notice comes into effect. This date will be clearly stated on the notice.
Before deciding whether or not to appeal against the enforcement notice you should read the Enforcement appeals procedure guidance which gives detailed advice about the appeal process.
If you decide that you want to lodge an appeal against a notice you can do so online at the planning casework service area of the Planning Inspectorate's website.
If you want to take part in an appeal
If you are aware of an enforcement appeal being made and you are not the person making the appeal, you also have the right to take part.
If you have not received notification of the appeal directly from the Local Planning Authority, you can contact our Planning Appeals team for more information about the processes and deadline involved:
10 Wandsworth Road
London SW8 2LL
If you would like to comment on an appeal please read the Planning Inspectorate's Guide to taking part in Enforcement Appeals. The guides are split per procedure for written representations, for informal hearings and public inquiries.
The duration of appeals
Depending on the format the appeal takes, the process can often take up to a year.
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