An appeal against an enforcement notice can be made on a number of grounds. The grounds set out below are paraphrased – the exact wording of the grounds can be found in s174 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended):
- Planning permission ought to be granted for the development (or if the enforcement notice relates to the breach of a condition on a planning permission, that condition should be removed from the permission)
- The breach of planning control alleged in the enforcement notice has not occurred.
- The alleged breach of planning control does not in fact require planning permission
- It is too late for the authority to serve an enforcement notice, i.e. for building and other operations and for the use of a property or part of one as a single dwelling the breach of planning control occurred more than 4 years ago or for other breaches more than 10 years ago.
- Copies of the enforcement notice were not properly served on the relevant parties, i.e. the landowner, occupiers and those with an interest in the land.
- The steps for compliance required by the notice are excessive.
- The period for compliance with the notice is too short.
Enforcement appeals are similar to planning appeals and dealt with by an Inspector appointed by the Planning Inspectorate, a government executive agency. They are dealt with under one of three procedures:
- Written representations. An exchange of correspondence takes place.
- Informal hearing. A discussion chaired by the Inspector.
- Public inquiry. This is more akin to a court of law and those giving evidence may be cross-examined by the other side.
In all procedures the Inspector will normally visit the site and neighbours, and other interested parties have a chance to be involved in the appeal process if they wish.
If an appeal is lodged, the enforcement notice is suspended pending the outcome of the appeal. The period for compliance then runs from the date the appeal is determined, unless the appeal is allowed of course, or if the appeal is withdrawn, from the date of withdrawal.