Inspectors must sometimes think that they spend half their lives correcting enforcement notices and, for whatever reason, it does seem that enforcement gets more than its fair share of criticism. This, to the point that an inspector determining an appeal against an enforcement notice alleging “a mixed use of agriculture and domestic” in Devon (DCS Number 400-012-983) found that the whole situation was such a mess it was ‘omniflawed’.
The council did not seem to have realised that when issuing an enforcement notice directed at the use of a site in mixed use, all the components of the mixture have to be included in the allegation, irrespective of whether some of them considered individually might have been authorised, immune or otherwise lawful, the inspector noted. He explained that otherwise, if the notice is upheld, unconditional planning permission is granted for all the uses not included in the allegation. In the case before him this would include industrial and commercial storage uses. He concluded that the allegation in the enforcement notice was so defective, and as a result the notice was so seriously faulty, that he could not see how he could properly uphold it.
It wasn’t just the council finding itself in the line of fire, however. “The appellant and his agent have made such a mess of the appeal that I would be entitled to dismiss it summarily, without considering it in any detail, since no relevant facts or arguments have been put forward to support the appeal.” “In summary, both sides in this case have created a situation which is best described (here I have to adapt modern English usage) as omniflawed.”
The following DCP chapter is relevant: 4.533