Local planning enforcement plan

The expediency test

If a planning application is not submitted to regularise unauthorised works, we must then decide whether or not it is considered expedient to take formal enforcement action. In making this decision, we will have due regard to the provisions of the development plan and any other material considerations, to assess whether the breach causes an unacceptable level of planning harm. Matters assessed may include:

  • the location of the breach
  • its visual impact
  • its effect on neighbours' amenity
  • its impact on highway safety as set out on the scoring sheet above

We consider it will not be expedient to pursue planning enforcement action under the following circumstances:

  • where the outcome of any enforcement action would not result in a significant environmental gain or benefit
  • permission would be likely to be granted for the development without conditions. Those affected will be advised of the need to apply for planning permission and the fact that the owner/operator may encounter legal difficulties should they choose to sell
  • where the breach affects land we own or is on the public highway, in these cases, the powers available to us as landowner or as local highway authority are likely to be more appropriate and such cases will be passed to the appropriate part of the council for consideration

In some cases, it may be appropriate for our officers to enter into negotiations with the alleged contravener to either secure compliance with a condition or permission, or to negotiate changes to a development to make it more acceptable in planning terms. These negotiations may negate the need for enforcement action.