Planning Circular 10/2009: Planning Enforcement

Policy on the use of enforcement powers in planning.

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1. Section 27A (1) of the 1997 Act (introduced by section 6 of the 2006 Act) requires that a planning authority be notified of the date work is expected to commence before the work actually commences on any development for which planning permission has been granted. It is not a breach of planning control where a developer does not commence work on the exact date specified in the notice but at some point afterwards. There may be a number of reasons (not necessarily under the control of the developer) why work does not commence on the specified date.

2. Section 27A(2) requires the planning authority, when granting permission, to make the applicant aware that they are required to submit such a notice and that failure to do so would be a breach of planning control which might result in enforcement action being taken.

3. Developers are further required to tell the planning authority under section 27B(1) when that work is completed. In addition, section 27B(2) provides that, where the planning application states that the development is to be carried out in phases, then it is to be a condition of any planning approval that a notice of completion is also to be submitted at the completion of each phase.

4. Section 27C requires that for certain types of development, information regarding the development must be displayed on the site. The information would be required to be displayed in such a way that it was accessible for the public, with regulations defining the content and positioning of the sign. It would constitute a breach of planning control not to display such a notice if the nature of the development required it.

5. Further detail as to the submission or display of these notices, and the content of any such notice is set out in The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2008 (regulations 37 & 38) and Circular 4/2009.

Enforcement action in regard of failure to display or submit any notice required under section 27A, section 27B or section 27C

6. Failure to submit a notice of Initiation of Development or to display a notice as required under section 27C constitutes a breach of planning control. Failure to submit Notices of Completion of Development may constitute a breach (or breaches) of condition depending on the development in question.

7. The purpose of requiring these notices to be submitted is to alert the planning authority and, in the case of notices under section 27C the general public, to active development in their area.

8. In considering whether a breach of planning control has been committed, and if so what action it would be appropriate to take, planning authorities are expected to apply the normal considerations as to what is reasonable action in respect of any particular breach. With regard to enforcement action, an informal approach may be sufficient to result in a notice being submitted, albeit late.

9. While in itself a failure to submit or display a notice in accordance with the requirements of the relevant sections may in some cases be considered a relatively minor breach and not meriting formal enforcement action, planning authorities should bear in mind that where notices have not been submitted, there is the potential that further breaches of planning control have occurred. For example, where notification of initiation of development has not been submitted before development has commenced, it may also be the case that suspensive conditions have not been met.

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