What are the changes to the Planning Enforcement Regime?

With all the planning headlines being taken up on the Biodiversity Net Gain, it can be hard to keep track of the other, but no less important, changes to the planning regime.

Changes to the time limits for taking action

One of those is the changes to the time limits for taking enforcement action in England. From 25 April 2024 the new time limits are as follows:

  • 10 years for operational development or change of use to a single dwelling
  • 10 years for any other breach of planning control

 Extensions to the above time limits will occur where there has been concealment of the breach. 

Transitional provisions for an operational development

The transitional provisions mean that the changes do not occur in the case of operational development which was substantially completed before 25 April 2024 however you should ensure that you have robust evidence to demonstrate substantial completion on or before 24 April 2024.

Transitional provision for a change of use to a single dwelling

In the case of change of use to a single dwelling, the amended time periods appear to indicate that the changes do not apply to an unauthorised dwelling where the breach occurred prior to 25 April 2024. For instance, if the breach occurred on 24 April 2024, it would potentially be lawful on 24 April 2028. By contrast if the breach commenced on 25 April 2024, it would only be potentially become lawful on 25 April 2034. Again, it will be critical to ensure that any evidence of the unlawful use is sufficiently robust and precise bearing in mind the legal tests for demonstrating lawfulness.

Other key points to be aware of

In addition to the above, Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) will also get the power to issue enforcement warning notices asking a person to submit a retrospective planning application.

In respect of Stop Notices, the time for temporary stop notices has increased from 28 days to 56 days, and LPAs can also now issue temporary stop notices if they suspect unauthorised works have been undertaken to a listed building.

How Moore Barlow can help

We fully understand that legislation and planning policy is constantly evolving and if you are a developer, a landowner or objector, it’s extremely difficult to stay on top of your requirements. That’s where Moore Barlow can help, with our experienced team.

If you require expert legal advice around this, or any other area of planning policy and legislation, please contact our expert solicitors today.