Managing Expectations with Planning Enforcement
By Sophie Berry
A large proportion of RAC’s planning portfolio is associated with regularisation of unauthorised development in the countryside. Often, local planning enforcement officers have already been in touch with the land owner by the time we become involved.
Recent successful cases include: large scale engineering works; retention of a residential annexe, industrial buildings outside of the settlement boundary; biomass boiler in a barn; unauthorised works to a replacement dwelling and resolution of outstanding information required by planning conditions, to name a few.
At RAC, Associates use their extensive rural planning and enforcement experience to provide honest opinions as to the acceptability of an unauthorised use or development and may be able to suggest ways in which it can be made acceptable. Sometimes, this can be as straight forward as providing outstanding information to satisfy the local authority, or applying to vary a condition. Other times it may require compiling technical information such as: organising ecological surveys; undertaking transport analysis; soil testing; or, submitting mitigating landscape plans, for example.
In many enforcement cases, both the applicant and the local authority should be prepared to negotiate on aspects such as design in order to achieve an acceptable form of development and, when this is constructive, it can result in a retrospective planning permission. There may however be occasions when the local authority does not grant retrospective approval and where this occurs RAC is also well placed to help manage your appeal. Needless to say, handling enforcement matters and retrospective planning permissions is not necessarily a quick process and we will always advise that you cease development until a resolution has been achieved.
If you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of being threatened with enforcement action or have been served with an enforcement notice or if you have been given the opportunity to apply for retrospective approval and require assistance, contact RAC to see if we can help you achieve an acceptable development outcome.