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How do I appeal an enforcement notice?

An appeal against an enforcement notice can be made on a number of grounds. There are 7 different grounds on which you can make your appeal (Ground a, b, c, d, e, f and g). You can make your appeal on one ground only or on several grounds.

A paraphrased description of each ground is set out below.  The exact wording for each of the grounds of appeal can be found in Section 174 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).

  • Ground (a) – that planning permission ought to be granted for the development (or if the enforcement notice relates to the breach of a condition on a planning permission, that condition should be removed from the permission);
  • Ground (b) – that the breach of planning control alleged in the enforcement notice has not occurred;
  • Ground (c) – that the alleged breach of planning control does not in fact require planning permission;
  • Ground (d) – that it is too late for the authority to serve an enforcement notice, i.e. for building and other operations and for the use of a property or part of one as a single dwelling the breach of planning control occurred more than 4 years ago or for other breaches more than 10 years ago;
  • Ground (e) - Copies of the enforcement notice were not properly served on the relevant parties, i.e. the landowner, occupiers and those with an interest in the land;
  • Ground (f) – that the steps for compliance required by the notice are excessive; and
  • Ground (g) – that the period for compliance with the notice is too short.

Where an enforcement notice was issued on or after 25 April 2024, certain limitations apply to appeals made under ground (a). For example, where planning permission has already been sought to regularise the breach or an appeal against a related application has been made.  

Enforcement appeals are similar to planning appeals and dealt with by an Inspector appointed by the Planning Inspectorate, a government executive agency. They are dealt with under one of three procedures:

  • Written representations. An exchange of correspondence takes place.
  • Informal hearing. A discussion chaired by the Inspector.
  • Public inquiry. This is more akin to a court of law and those giving evidence may be cross-examined by the other side.

In all procedures the Inspector will normally visit the site and neighbours, and other interested parties have a chance to be involved in the appeal process if they wish.

If an appeal is lodged, the enforcement notice is suspended pending the outcome of the appeal. The period for compliance then runs from the date the appeal is determined, unless the appeal is allowed of course, or if the appeal is withdrawn, from the date of withdrawal.

The Planning Inspectorate have the power to dismiss an appeal if the appellant is responsible for undue delay to the appeal process.  

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