There are two types of breach:
- Operational Development – In other words the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land. This would include for example the building of a house and an extension to a house.
- Material change of use of land or buildings – for example changing agricultural land to garden or the change of use of a retail shop to a cafe.
Currently the Council receives a considerable number of complaints regarding planning matters per annum. Many matters raised concern things that do not planning permission in themselves or they are granted planning permission not by the Council, but by Parliament through the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. In an attempt to make the best use of scarce resources it has been resolved that not every matter is investigated. Those matters that appear to fall within the provisions of the Order or slight variations in excess of what would have been permitted by the Order are unlikely to be investigated. View an interactive guide to some of these works. If a matter is not investigated or investigated and is found to fall within the provisions of the Order you will be informed.
Where development has been undertaken that does require planning permission and does not fall within the category described in the above paragraph, a planning application may be sought, or if the work is having a serious impact on amenity or the environment (having regard to the provisions of the development plan and any other material considerations) the council will normally attempt to persuade the owner or occupier to cease or remove the unauthorised development. However, negotiations should not be allowed to hamper or delay matters where formal enforcement action is clearly necessary on planning grounds. If it is in the public interest to do so, having regard to the provision of the development plan and any other material considerations formal enforcement action will be commenced.
Policies contained in the Rother District Local Plan 2006, the adopted Core Strategy 2014 and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will be relevant when considering whether to take enforcement action. Those relating to public amenity; the impact of development on the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings will be particularly relevant. Policies that restrict development are always to be balanced against those that, for example, promote economic development. In general, however, if unauthorised development is having an unacceptable impact on amenity seldom will the economic benefit outweigh the need to protect the natural and built environment. In some cases action may be necessary to protect the amenities of occupiers of adjoining properties.
Breach of Condition Notices
Planning Permission is often granted subject to conditions, for example requiring a landscaping scheme to be carried out. If the condition is not complied with, as an alternative to an ordinary Enforcement Notice, a Breach of Condition notice can be served.
This Notice may be served on any person who is carrying out or has carried out the development. As there is no right of appeal to a Breach of Condition Notice, if after a specified time the recipient does not comply with the Notice, they are in breach of the Notice and guilty of an offence. However, it shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence to prove that he took all reasonable steps to secure compliance with the conditions specified in the notice or when the notice was served he no longer had control of the land.