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Planning Permission

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 23 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has provided to local authorities on the time it should take to (a) investigate planning transgressions and (b) implement planning enforcement where necessary. (227932)

Guidance on the timing of investigations into allegations of unauthorised development and on the timing of enforcement procedures is given in the Department's publication “Enforcing Planning Control: Good Practice for Local Planning Authorities”.

Paragraph 2.3 of this document recommends that in investigating complaints concerning unauthorised development, a local planning authority should respond to a complaint within 15 working days, explaining what action the authority proposes to take and tell the complainant about the local planning authority's decision to make formal enforcement action within 10 working days of the authority's making that decision.

Paragraphs 5.19-5.25 deal with sections 173-174 of the Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) 1990 concerning the date on which a planning enforcement notice takes effect and the compliance period for the taking of any remedial action required by the enforcement notice. The provisions of the TCPA 1990 require that the service of an enforcement notice shall not take place less than 28 days before the date on which it is to take effect. But the guidance indicates that it may be prudent to allow a margin of several days above this minimum period so as to ensure that all interested parties receive the notice not less than 28 days before the effective date. The compliance period should be as short as can reasonably be allowed and it should not normally exceed one year. But it will be for the LPA to decide on how long it should be depending on the complexity of the case.