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Housing: Construction

Volume 461: debated on Friday 15 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2007, Official Report, columns 1101-02W, on housing: construction, what plans she has to introduce penalties for failure to comply with a completion notice. (143240)

We have no plans to introduce penalties for failure to comply with a completion notice. Completion notices are rare, but effective in most cases. If a completion notice is ignored, the relevant planning permission ceases to be valid, except insofar as it authorises the development already carried out. Any further development carried out after the period specified in the completion notice is over may be liable to enforcement action.

It would be impracticable to give the local planning authority power to compel the completion of a development once started, for example where the developer lacked the finance to complete the work.

However, a local planning authority may compel the removal of any partially erected buildings by making a discontinuance order under section 102 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. If an order, confirmed by the Secretary of State, is not complied with, the authority can enforce it in accordance with sections 189 and 190 of the Act. Where a discontinuance order has not been complied with, section 190 of the 1990 Act enables the local planning authority to take the steps required under the order (such as removal of buildings, works or any plant or machinery, or steps to protect the environment), and to recover any expenses reasonably incurred by them in doing so from the owner of the land.