Be reasonable

The new year might be a time for the stiffening of resolve but it is important, particularly with regard to enforcement matters, to be reasonable. A recent appeal case (DCS Number 400-023-842) illustrates the point.

An enforcement notice had been issued requiring the demolition of an unauthorised roof extension at a house in Surrey. Meanwhile, the council had already granted planning permission for the removal of the roof extension and replacement with one of a different design. The appellant complained that the extant planning permission did not expire until about ten months after the date for compliance with the requirements of the enforcement notice, which would be five months after the date of the inspector’s decision.

The inspector agreed that the compliance period of the enforcement notice negated a benefit of the planning permission. He recorded that in the case of Tapecrown Limited v First Secretary of State and Another [2006] Lord Justice Carnwath stated that “…the enforcement procedure is intended to be remedial rather than punitive”. He reasoned that the extant planning permission, granted before the date of issue of the notice, provided the remedy to the breach of planning control.

The inspector increased the period for compliance to fifteen months, ruling that it was punitive and unreasonable.

Section 4.5361 of DCP Online contains information concerning requirements for the period for compliance with an enforcement notice, together with further appeal examples in which the period was extended.