Planning and Building Control Enforcement
This page tells you how to complain about unauthorised development
- The Council's policy on the enforcement of planning and building control is to deal firstly with physical danger, health or safety problems. Then to deal with those issues that are causing demonstrable harm to the enjoyment of people's lives, property or the environment. We see the enforcement of development control as a basic underpinning of the Tameside's Community Plan and a way of protecting those people most vulnerable in the community.
- This page says how the Council will deal with complaints about unauthorised building work and changes of use, trees, illegal adverts, unauthorised work to listed buildings and in conservation areas, untidy land, enforcement of the Building Regulations and reporting dangerous buildings.
- Call 0161 342 3139 if you want to make a complaint or use the online complaint form. We aim to investigate complaints within 10 working days and respond informally by telephone or e-mail with an outline of what we might achieve. When we have looked more fully into the complaint to establish precisely the nature of the breach of control we will decide what action we will take. We may decide to serve notices but we would prefer to resolve problems by negotiation.
- At this point, the Council will aim to draft a "statement of intent" letter to the complainant and the person in breach. Where there is a poor case for action we will advise accordingly.
- Anonymous complaints will be investigated, but will generally receive less priority unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
- We will treat all complaints in confidence and enforcement complaint files will generally not be open to inspection, subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We will also try to keep complainants advised of progress regularly during proceedings.
- Do you want to know if building works currently have building regulations consent? If so, you can now find out using the building regulations on-line form.
How to Complain about a Breach of Control
- When you report a breach you must give the address of the property concerned and full details of the alleged breach with relevant dates, times and other details where known.
- Also, we advise you to follow up telephone complaints in writing or by e-mail since this may provide valuable evidence at appeal hearings. Sometimes the Council has to call on neighbours to give evidence to support complaints.
- However, there is usually a right of appeal against enforcement action to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Most people will exercise this right and at that stage, the Council must justify it's action.
- If any appeal is not successful the Notice comes into force. If the appeal is successful then the Secretary of State automatically grants permission as the Council would with a normal application.
- If the person in breach does not comply with a notice then the Council can then prosecute or take direct action to enter land and carry out works in default. We will then place a charge against the land to recover costs incurred when the property is sold.
The circumstances under which the Council will take enforcement action.
- The precise form of any enforcement action depends on the case concerned and on legal advice but please remember that enforcement action is discretionary.
- The Government says that Council's must only use enforcement powers where the unauthorised development is causing significant harm. The Council can therefore decide not to take action if it considers the breach to be trivial or simply not merited.
- Many courses of formal action are dependent on how long the use or development has been in existence.
- With breaches of planning control arising from building operations or using a building as a house, the council cannot serve a Notice after 4 years from the commencement of the breach.
- Other planning breaches such as unauthorised changes of use are subject to a 10-year time limit from commencement. After that time, the Council cannot take action and the use can become legitimate. The landowner can even apply for a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use or Development (CLEUD) after this period and if the evidence is clear regularise the situation.
Types of Notices
- Planning Contravention Notice - This is a preliminary notice which tells people of a breach of control and enables the Council to ask about land ownership, unauthorised activities and changes of use on the land.
- Planning Enforcement Notice - This is the notice to deal with most unauthorised development. The Notice will specify the time when the notice becomes effective and it will specify the steps and timescale to correct the breach. The person in breach, however can appeal before the notice takes effect thus suspending the notice until the Secretary of State determines the appeal.
- Breach of Conditions Notice - The Council will serve this notice when a developer has failed to comply with conditions attached to planning permission. The notice will specify the steps necessary to comply with the conditions. There is no right of appeal against this notice because there is a right of appeal against conditions imposed when the Council grants consent and the applicant ought to have appealed then.
- Injunctions and Stop Notices - Used in exceptional circumstances where the Council considers it necessary to restrain any breach. However, this method is open to legal challenge which can seriously delay outcomes.
- Untidy Land Notices - The Council can serve a notice on the owner of any land or building which is in an unreasonably untidy condition and we consider has an adverse affect on the amenity of the area. The Notice specifies what needs to be done to correct the situation.
- Advertisements - (discontinuance notice) - People can display some advertisements without prior consent but the Council can prosecute where these are unsightly or threaten road safety.
- Breaches of the Building Regulations - The Council will take proceedings where building work contravenes any provision contained in the Building Regulations that is prejudicial to health and safety. A notice may require the owner to pull down or remove the work, or make necessary alterations to make the work comply. In addition there is also the possibility that the offending party could receive a fine for contravening the Building Regulations.
- Dangerous Buildings Notice and Notices under the Building Act 1984 - The Council serves these notices where buildings or structures are dangerous, ruinous or dilapidated or require demolition.
If the Council serves you with any of these notices we will advise you of your rights to challenge the notice or appeal. However, if you face action we strongly advise you to obtain proper legal advice.
Page last updated: 24 September 2012