When a breach of control occurs Breaches of planning control occur in a number of different circumstances, for example:
- Unauthorised building work
Building or engineering works which are undertaken without the required planning permission.
Building work being undertaken following planning permission, which is not carried out in accordance with the approved plans or any conditions imposed by the council as part of the permission.
Carrying out works without planning permission is not a criminal offence, but there are various options open to the council to try to remedy the breach.
- Changes of use of land or buildings
A significant change of use to a building (or part of a building) or land normally requires planning permission. If planning permission has not been obtained when the change of use takes place, there is a breach of planning control. This again, is not an offence and the owner cannot be prosecuted but in appropriate circumstances, the council can take action to remedy the breach.
- Works to listed buildings
Works to a listed building will usually require listed building consent. It is an offence to carry out work without the necessary consent and in these cases the owner may be prosecuted.
Minor alterations, which do not affect the special interest or character of the building, or repairs, do not need consent. You are strongly advised to check with the council’s Conservation Officer (who deals with historic buildings) on 01832 742133 before you start.
The display of advertisements is controlled by regulations. Consent is needed to display many types of advert. Failure to obtain the necessary consent is an offence, which may result in prosecution.
Trees can be protected in one of two ways; either by a Tree Preservation Order or because they are located in a Conservation Area.
In both cases, works to the tree(s) or removal without following the appropriate procedure can constitute an offence, which can result in prosecution. You are advised to contact the Conservation Officer (who deals with trees and landscaping) in the planning section, on 01832 742148 before any works to the tree are carried out, for advice as to whether consent will be required. A private arboriculturalist will be able to offer specialist advice.
How to contact East Northants Council:
To report what you believe to be a breach of Planning Conditions, email email@example.com.
Or use the on-line reporting form:
Once an officer has started investigating a complaint you will be able to contact them via their personal e-mail address.
Once the council has decided to serve an enforcement notice, we will issue requisitions asking for information to be provided relating to any parties who have a legal interest in the property. If the information is not provided within the specified period, prosecution may follow. The enforcement notice will be served on all the parties who have a legal interest, even though they may not be directly involved in the activities themselves.
The notice will specify the breach of planning control, the steps required to remedy the breach and the period of time allowed for compliance. The period will commence 28 days from the date of the notice.
Anyone who receives an enforcement notice may appeal within 28 days from the service of the notice. Appeals are made to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. Once the Planning Inspectorate accepts an appeal as valid, the actions required under the enforcement notice are put in abeyance until the outcome of the appeal is known.
If an appeal is not lodged or not accepted as being valid by the Planning Inspectorate, and the steps required by the enforcement notice to remedy the breach have not been taken within the specified period, the council may be able to prosecute the parties involved.
In certain circumstances, where the council believes the breach of control is so serious (because it is harmful to health or affects a wide area of the district), and the council feels the development should be stopped immediately, the council can serve an enforcement notice together with a stop notice.
The stop notice will require the building works or unauthorised use to stop immediately. Again an appeal can be submitted under the procedure previously described. In some cases where an inspector on appeal does not uphold a stop notice, the council may be liable to pay compensation, therefore careful consideration needs to be given before this remedy is used.
The decision to prosecute is taken by the members of the Planning Committee following advice from officers and sometimes legal advice. The decision to prosecute has to be taken in the public interest and usually where alternative action has failed to remedy the situation.
In some cases, serving an injunction is a more appropriate course of action than an enforcement notice. Failure to comply with an injunction is a contempt of court for which there are serious penalties.
Where a breach of planning control has not been resolved, and an enforcement notice has taken effect but has not been complied with, the council can decide to carry out the works necessary to remedy the situation itself.
The council would serve notice of its intentions on the owners and occupiers of the land before a contractor carries out the work. The cost of the work would be reclaimed from the owner or a charge placed on the land. This would be a remedy of the last resort when all other attempts to resolve the breach have failed.
How to contact an Enforcement Officer
Three officers at East Northants Council have responsibility for investigating enforcement complaints, whether full or part-time. From 25th January 2016 the e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you can report your concerns using this on-line reporting form: https://www.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/forms/form/92/en/report_a_breach_of_planning_control_or_building_control_regulations
Once an officer has started investigating a complaint you will be able to contact them via their personal e-mail address. Updated January 2016