Contributed By Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers Ltd
Government plans and development aspirations are contained in policy statements including in The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which applies only to England. This provides the programme for generating local plans for housing and other development. It is against the background of these local plans that applications for planning permission are determined. Local planning authorities (LPAs) are also motivated to prepare a local plan which sets planning policies in a local authority area. If there is no local pan, LPAs will be deemed to adopt a 'presumption in favour of sustainable development'.
The local planning authority (LPA) will decide if a proposed development of a property should be permitted.
The developer seeking to obtain planning permission will submit plans and specifications of the intended work to be undertaken to the relevant LPA.
Planning permission is required in most new buildings, major alterations to existing buildings and significant changes to the use of a building or piece of land. When planning permission is granted it is usually subject to strict conditions with which a developer must comply.
Building Regulation Approval
Building regulations are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to almost every building. A landowner applies to its local authority building control department for building regulations approval. Examples of where building regulation approval is likely to be required include:
When the work is carried out it must meet the relevant technical requirements in the building regulations approval. In addition, the works must not make other fabric, services and fittings less compliant or dangerous than they were before.
The local authorities for regional areas will regulate the use of individual parcels of real estate subject to prevailing primary and secondary legislation.
It is usual for LPAs to notify any neighbouring properties of a new development project or major refurbishment. Notices would be displayed and the parish, town or community council are usually also notified. This enables third parties to provide their comments on the proposed planning permission. The LPA will then consider any minor changes to the planning permission in light of these comments. Third parties have the right to apply for judicial review of a LPA decision if it is considered that a decision has been reached unlawfully.
If the LPA refuses permission or imposes conditions, it must give written reasons. Appeals must be submitted within six months of the date of the application decision letter.
It can be necessary to enter into agreements with local or governmental authorities or agencies or utility suppliers to facilitate a development project. These agreements range from the developer committing to payments towards local infrastructure improvement projects or the provision of new highways or drainage systems. The objective of such agreements being to mitigate the effects of development.
If an LPA considers that planning has been carried out in breach of the terms of the planning permission then an enforcement notice will be issued. This notice will identify the breach and stipulate what steps the LPA intends to take. Failure to comply with an enforcement notice could result in a fine. Alternatively, a breach of condition notice can be given as an alternative to an enforcement notice and the developer is required to remedy the breach of condition.
During the course of the development the LPA will undertake site visits to inspect compliance with building regulations. Failure to comply can result in enforcement action in the form of either a prosecution or additionally an enforcement notice requiring the alteration or removal of work which contravenes the regulations. If the owner does not comply with the notice, the local authority has the power to undertake the work itself and recover the costs of doing so from the owner.