From the 25 April 2024, provisions from the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Act (LURA) 2023 and the Planning Act (PA) 2008 will come into force which have a significant impact on the enforcement regime. This is following the enactment  of the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 8) and the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2024 (SI 2024/452) ("2024 Regulations"). We have summarised the relevant provisions below.

Commencement of provisions of the PA 2008Part 2 of the new instrument activates s.196 and parts of Schedule 10  (paragraphs 1, 7, 8, 10 and 14) within the PA 2008. The effect is that the Secretary of State will be able to decide the procedure to be adopted for the determination of an appeal about a lawful development certificate. 

Commencement of provisions of the LURA 2023: Part 3 activates the following provisions:

RegSection of the LURASubjectEffect
3as. 103 Temporary stop notices (listed buildings)English LPAs will be empowered to issue temporary stop notices for up to 56 days on unauthorised works carried out on listed buildings. It is also an offence to contravene these notices.
3bs. 115 Time Limits for enforcementEnglish LPAs will be able to take enforcement action against unauthorised development for up to 10 years. This has been extended from 4 years in relation to operational development and the change of use to a single dwelling.
3cs. 116 Duration of temporary stop noticesWhere LPAs suspect a breach of planning control, they will be able to issue a temporary stop notice for up to 56 days to provide more time to investigate.
3d s. 117 Enforcement warning noticesEnglish LPAs will be able to issue an enforcement warning notice requiring a retrospective planning permission to be submitted by the recipient within a specified period where there is a reasonable prospect of permission being granted. 
3es. 118 Restrictions on appeals against warning noticesThere will be reduced ability to lodge an appeal against an enforcement notice under ground “a”. This means that careful consideration will need to be given when responding to an enforcement warning notice. In general terms, there may be benefits to submitting a planning application to the LPA rather than going through the enforcement appeal process. However, the implication of this new provision is that some thought will need to be given to appeal strategy at an earlier stage, and before knowing exactly what the LPA will ultimately seek to enforce against or the remedial steps it will require.
3fs. 119Undue delays in appealsThe SoS will be able to dismiss an appeal relating to an enforcement notice or lawful development certificate in England where an appellant appears to be causing undue delay to the process.
3gs.120 Penalties for non-complianceThe maximum fine for failure to comply with a breach of condition notice or s.215 notice relating to the maintenance of land will be increased.

On 25 July 2024, section 105 of the LURA, relating to preservation notices, will be triggered by regulation 4. Specifically, LPAs will have to consult Historic England before serving a preservation notice. 

Part 3 sets out the relevant transitional provisions. The pattern is that the changes will not apply where a certain variable has occurred before 25 April. For example:

  • Time Limits for enforcement (s.115): does not apply where the operations were substantially completed, or the breach occurred before 25 April;
  • Duration of temporary stop notices (s.116): does not apply where a temporary stop notice has been issued (and not withdrawn) before 25 April;
  • Restrictions on appeals against enforcement notices (s.118): does not apply where an enforcement notice has been issued (and not withdrawn) before 25 April;
  • Undue delays (s.119): does not apply where an enforcement notice has been issued under s 172 TCPA (and not withdrawn) and an appeal has been made against that notice before 25 April;
  • Penalties for non-compliance (s.120): apply only in relation to offence committed after the 25 April.

These changes provide local planning authorities in England with enhanced tools to investigate and take enforcement action. We anticipate increased scrutiny around the time periods for substantial completion of operational development and changes of use to dwellings so it will be important for all parties involved to carefully consider the evidential position.  Our team is experienced in dealing with enforcement queries so please contact Gary Soloman or Danny Whittle if you have any queries.