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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
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Looking into the procedure re seeking a Planning Enforcement

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Looking into the procedure re seeking a Planning Enforcement Order for concealed breaches under s.171BA Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Text books state that an application may be made to the magistrates court, but don’t say what form is to be used for the application or if some other document is to be used. Please provide clarification on what form is to be used.

As it is an Order that is being sought, do civil or criminal procedure rules apply?

Regarding witness statements, should this take the format of s.9 (criminal justice act 1967) statement?
My name isXXXXX and I am a Solicitor based in London. I'm happy to help with your question today.

Are you a planning authority?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, doing some work for them.


There is no application form for this process under the Civil Procedure or Criminal Procedure Rules.

But the witness statements should be those used in the civil procedure and contain the declaration "I confirm the contents of this statement are true to the best of my knowledge and belief".

The usual practice is that the Planning Authority would use its own template application form to commence the procedure.

A certificate of the alleged breaches signed by the Planning Authority would accompany the template application.

A hearing date will be set for the matter and the papers served in advance on the parties

Happy to discuss further.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks. Just to clarify on commencing proceedings:


a) As no charge is being brought, and what is sought is an order (which if obtained would enable the service of an enforcement notice) this would be a civil matter (civil complaint – magistrates’ court act 1980)?


b) Since no charge is being brought proceedings ought not to be commenced by information/summons?


c) It seems there is usually no fee for an information/summons in the magistrates’ court re criminal matters. Would there be an application fee for a civil complaint?


A. Yes. This is a quasi-civil matter in the Magistrates Court. The Magistrates regularly deal with a number of similar cases which include liability orders for council tax and family cases.

B. No summons or information is laid. The procedure is commenced by way of an application. There is no prescribed form under the CPR. Also there is no strict format for the application but in my experience a planning authority usually has a template for this procedure.

C. Yes. I believe a fee is payable. However, since I have never personally acted for a planning authority (I have only acted for a respondent) I am not up to date with the fee regime but for some reason the figure of £200 comes to mind. The Magistrates Court which will deals with the application should have the fees information.

Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes it's helpful thanks.


It is noted that the procedure is commenced by way of application. Is it correct to call the application a complaint?

The Localism Act 2011 which inserted sections 171BA, 171BB and 171BC into the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 only refers an application for a planning enforcement notice. The word complaint does not appear in any part of the text. But I suppose as this is an enforcement process the planning authority would be complaining to the court for a remedy. Therefore, the application could be described as a complaint in loose terms.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For Alex Hughes



In a civil or quasi civil matter (concerning obtaining a planning enforcement order) can questions be put to a suspect to determine whether a breach has been concealed in an interview under caution? or are such interviews only for criminal cases?

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