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Planning enforcement policy

Glossary of terms

Breach of Condition Notice (BCN)

A notice served by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) when there has been a failure to comply with any condition or limitation imposed on a grant of planning permission (e.g. failure to carry out landscaping, not keeping to agreed opening hours).

Building Operations

Demolition of buildings, rebuilding, structural alterations of, or additions to buildings, and other operations normally undertaken by a builder.

Breach of Planning Control

Where development which requires planning permission has taken place, but this permission has not been obtained or the conditions of the permission have not been complied with.

Certificate of Lawful Development (CLD)

Enables Local Planning Authorities, when the appropriate conditions are satisfied in each case, to grant a certificate stating that:

(a) an existing use of land, or some operational development, or some activity in breach of a planning condition, is Lawful; or

(b) a proposed use of buildings or other land, or some operations proposed to be carried out in, on, over or under land, would be

Lawful Development

The carrying out of building and other operational works in, on, over or under land or a material change in the use of a building or other land.

Enforcement Notice

A notice served by the LPA to remedy an alleged breach of planning control by requiring a use to stop or building works to be removed.

General Permitted Development Order (GPDO)

A national government document which sets out various categories of development that do not require planning permission (e.g. many alterations and extensions to dwellings).

Immune from compliance action

We do not have the power to take compliance action against a developer or land owner when:

  • An unauthorised building or operational development has been substantially completed for four years or more.
  • An unauthorised change of use from a building to a dwelling-house has been in place for four years or more. (excludes caravans).
  • An unauthorised change of use to a building or piece of land was made ten years ago or more.
  • Conditions of a planning permission were breached ten years ago or more.


In this context Lawful means that the development or use of land specified is immune from compliance action and/or a specific grant of planning permission is not required.

Request for Information S.330 Notice (RFI)

A notice served on those who have an interest in the premises where there is an alleged breach of planning control including unauthorised development, adverts, trees and listed buildings.

Planning Contravention Notice (PCN)

A notice served by the LPA when it suspects there has been a breach of planning control and information is required about activities on the land or the nature of the occupier's interests in the land.

Temporary Stop Notice

A notice which can be served quickly to stop suspected breaches for 28 days giving the planning authority time to consider all the relevant issues.

Stop Notice

A notice served in conjunction with an enforcement notice to require unauthorised activities to cease with almost immediate effect.

Town and Country Planning Act 1990

This is the primary piece of planning legislation and includes sections on Control over Development and Development Plans. Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 2010 - Lists certain changes of use which do not usually require planning permission (e.g. change of use from a restaurant to a shop or from light industrial to offices).

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