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What is a Temporary Stop Notice?
A Temporary Stop Notice may be served where your local Council think that there has been a breach of planning control, and the Council believe that the activity or any part of it should be stopped immediately. The Temporary Stop Notice can only stop the activities for a limited time, while the Council decide whether or not to take enforcement action.
A Temporary Stop Notice requires you to stop the alleged unauthorised activity immediately. The Notice takes effect on the date that the Temporary Stop Notice is displayed on the land, and it cannot last more than 28 days. During this time, the Council will decide whether or not to take enforcement action against you. If the Council decide that no enforcement action should be taken, then the activity can start again once the time period in the Temporary Stop Notice has expired.
The Council may issue a Temporary Stop Notice if they believe that there has been a breach of planning control, and it is in the interests of the local area that the activity should be stopped immediately.
Who can a Temporary Stop Notice be served upon?
A Temporary Stop Notice may be served on any of the following:
- the person who appears to be carrying out the activity;
- a person who appears to have an interest in the land;
- a person who appears to be the occupier of the land.
If the Council cannot identify any of these people, then it is sufficient for the Council to display a copy of the Temporary Stop Notice at the affected area.
What Must a Temporary Stop Notice Contain?
The Temporary Stop Notice must be in writing and must set out the activity that the Council believes to be a breach of planning control. The Notice must also prohibit the activity continuing and set out the reasons behind the decision to issue a Temporary Stop Notice.
A copy of the Temporary Stop Notice must be displayed on the land, together with a statement informing you of the effect of the Notice, and advising you that failure to comply with the Notice is an offence.
In addition, the name, address and telephone number of the nominated officer should be included in the Temporary Stop Notice. This allows you to contact the Council to make representations about whether the Temporary Stop Notice should have been served. Please see below for more detail.
Who can a Planning Contravention Notice be served upon?
A Planning Contravention Notice may be served on anyone who is the owner or occupier of the land to which the Notice relates, or who has any other interest in it, or on anyone who is using the land for any purpose.
What must a Planning Contravention Notice contain?
There is no prescribed format for a Planning Contravention Notice, although a model notice has been suggested in National Planning Practice Guidance.
A Planning Contravention Notice may require you to provide any information that the Council want for enforcement purposes about activities on the land. In particular, you may be required to provide any of the following:
- information about any operations, uses or activities that are being carried out on the land, and the date that they began;
- information about the conditions of a planning permission;
- information give particulars of any person known to use or have used the land for any purpose, or to be carrying out or have carried out any operations or activities;
- information about the relevant planning permission, or a statement as to why planning permission isn’t required;
- information about the date of substantial completion of the development;
- the name and postal address of any persons that ae using the land or who have carried out the development; and
- information about your interest (if any) in the land, any names/addresses of people that you know have an interest in the land.
A Planning Contravention Notice may also give notice of a time and place where you and the Council can discuss whether you would like to apply for planning permission, stop the operations or activities, or undertake remedial work. A meeting with the Council would also allow you the opportunity to make any representations that you wish to make about the Notice. The purpose of this is to allow discussion between you and the Council about how the suspected breach of planning control can be rectified. The Council will not always offer a face to face discussion, as it may not consider a meeting to be necessary.
A Planning Contravention Notice must warn you of the consequences if you fail to reply (in particular, to warn you that enforcement action may be taken), and that you may be deprived of compensation if a stop notice is served.
Can I Appeal a Planning Contravention Notice?
Unfortunately, there is no right of appeal to the Secretary of State against the service of a Planning Contravention Notice. You must reply within 21 days to the questions that the Council have asked in the Notice. This may be a complex process and, since you only have 21 days to comply, it is important to seek professional advice as soon as possible.
What happens if a Planning Contravention Notice is not fully complied with?
It is an offence for any person served with a Planning Contravention Notice to fail to reply to it within 21 days. The maximum penalty for this offence is level 3 on the standard scale, currently £1,000.
It is also an offence to knowingly or recklessly make a statement in a reply which is false or misleading. The maximum penalty for this offence is level 5 on the standard scale, currently £5,000.
It is a defence if you can prove that you had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with the requirement of the Planning Contravention Notice.
There is more information about planning enforcement and prosecutions elsewhere on our website, but if you are served with a Planning Contravention Notice you should take legal advice straight away. Contact us for detailed advice on your individual situation.