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Types of Enforcement Action

Local planning authorities enforce planning controls by issuing a range of notices and, in serious cases, applying for injunctions.

Planning contravention notice
This notice requires an owner, occupier or other person to supply information on the use or occupation of a property. It may also state the remedial works required to address a planning violation. This could include a warning to stop the development or an invitation to make a retrospective application. It is illegal to ignore a planning contravention order or to provide incorrect information.
Breach of condition notice
This notice applies to developments that breach planning conditions or limitations, usually where this is detrimental to local amenities, public safety or likely to cause serious environmental harm. Anyone who has been served with a breach of condition notice must comply within 28 days. It is an offence to refuse to comply. An offender can be prosecuted at the Magistrates’ Court and fined up to £1,000. If you receive a breach of condition notice and are worried about what to do, please contact the planning authority directly or seek independent advice from a solicitor or other professional adviser.
Enforcement notice
This notice can be served when development has taken place without planning permission or in breach of a planning condition. It will state the steps that need to be taken by a given date in order to correct the planning breach. If you receive an enforcement notice you should seek professional advice as quickly as possible. A person who fails to comply can be prosecuted and fined up to £20,000 in the Magistrates Court, or an unlimited amount if the case goes before the Crown Court.
Stop notice
Stop notices can be used where the local planning authority needs to take immediate action on unauthorised development. It is an offence to continue any activity on the development once the notice comes into force. If you have received a stop notice, please seek advice from a solicitor or other professional adviser on planning. A person who fails to comply with a stop notice can be prosecuted and fined up to £20,000 in the Magistrates, or an unlimited amount if the case goes before the Crown Court. Stop notices are not commonly used by local planning authorities as they may have to pay compensation, if improperly used.
Injunctions
A local planning authority may apply for a court injunction if they consider that it is necessary to stop an actual or potential breach of planning control. The court will normally only grant an injunction as a remedy of last resort. Failure to comply with an injunction will be treated as contempt of court and carries with it a possible prison term.

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