If you have been contacted by your Local Planning Authority (LPA) enforcement team regarding a development, then ignoring it is not the answer. In our experience, dealing with enforcement matters quickly, comprehensively and effectively is the best approach to take.
Building on our planning consultant's previous experience of having worked with four different London LPA enforcement teams, Vitality Planning and Design can help you defend and retain your development. We can't gaurantee you success, but we will defend your development as effectively as possible. As part of our service to you, we will advise you impartially on whether challenging the LPA's decision is worth considering or whether it is better to comply with their demands.
It is very important to recognise that time is of the essence with enforcement matters, as the time-scales for people to respond to LPA demands is far shorter than the equivalent requirements for proposals.
The procedure regarding enforcement matters is bespoke to your needs, due to enforcement matters varying more in terms of time-scales, the nature of the development and problem and your own needs. Unlike the planning application services we offer, the objective here is to preserve your development as much as possible. Nevertheless, there are some commonalities. Below is a general guide to how we can help you counter your Council's demands.
Our Enforcement Management Service typically consists of three main stages:
A – Briefing, Review of Enforcement Issues and Plan of Action
B – Response to LPA's enforcement proceedings
C – Post-Enforcement Advice
Below is a discussion of what is involved in each stage.
Review of Enforcement Issues, Site Visit and Plan of Action
This stage consists of conducting the review of the requirements set out by the LPA enforcement team, the site visit, research and development of the most prudent solutions to the requirements, recruitment and employment of specialists to support the defence of the development (when required), and the production of the plan of action and relevant supporting reports/evidence.
The first step here is conducting the review of the requirements set out by the LPA enforcement team, which normally is focused on the reasons for enforcement action. Once we've established the issues with the development, we will review the relevant policies and guidance, planning history, and visit the site and surrounding area, in order for us to completely understand the nature of the development and the LPA's concerns.
Following the site visit and review, we will discuss with you these issues, and recommend arguments that counter the enforcement matters. In the discussion we will also ascertain what you are realistically seeking from the process, and how far you may be willing to compromise. With your agreement, we will develop appropriate arguments for the plan of action based on the above.
In the majority of cases, all of the work required to defend the development, including the development of relevant supporting reports/evidence is done in-house. Where external technical and legal specialists may be required, we will help you source people with the technical expertise needed, will liaise and directly work with them on your behalf, and will assist in encouraging them to deliver the defence materials punctually. Once the defence materials are agreed and produced, we will submit the materials to the LPA Enforcement Team.
At the end of this stage is the production of the plan of action, which sets out how the defence of the development will be conducted.
Response to LPA's enforcement proceedings
This stage is about the implementation of the plan of action. This depends on what you have agreed with us, and how serious the breach is, and how far enforcement proceedings have.
As an example, in the case of a relatively minor alleged breach, we would start by informally discussing the case with the assigned LPA enforcement officer, querying the stance of the LPA so as to understand their position, and possible weaknesses in their argument. The next step could then be negotiation, which would depend on what compromises you are willing to make. Depending on how this goes with the LPA and your stance, the next step could then be a planning application to modify the development so as to remove the alleged harm being caused. Alternatively, a Lawful Development Certificate for the retention of the structure may also be possible.
If the LPA considers the alleged breach to be serious, or enforcement involvement has been ongoing for some time, then the only viable option for you may be an enforcement appeal. Please note that this service does not include an Enforcement Appeal. However, we can manage an enforcement appeal on your behalf; for more information on our appeals service please click HERE.
Enforcement cases tend to come to an end when the Council either decides to close the case or an enforcement appeal decision is reached. If the Council closes the case, then we will advise you on ways of avoiding future problems with the development. Assuming that the appeal is allowed, and the notice is quashed, then we will advise you of requirements that may have been set out as part of the inspector's decision, such as condtions. If the appeal is dismissed, and the notice is upheld, then we can informally advise you of some options you could consider. As we are not lawyers, we cannot help you with any subsequent or resultant legal proceedings, and none of the work we provide for you is legal advice.