LURA: Enforcement regulations to come into force this month

LURA Thrings Planning

The most significant regulations stemming from the introduction of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act (LURA) to date have landed, outlining sweeping changes to planning enforcement.

These latest provisions, which were made by the government at the start of this month, will largely come into force on 25 April this year with developers required to be compliant or face the consequences. Here’s what you need to know:

Enforcement – time limits, warning notices and other changes

Among the wide range of crucial changes to the planning enforcement system set to be introduced, subject to transitional provisions, are:

  • Time Limits for Enforcement: The four-year time limit for bringing enforcement action against operational development and changes of use to a single dwelling-house will be revoked in England. Transitional provisions apply to breaches which have occurred before 25 April this year, which means the four-year rule would be available to breaches that become immune until 25 April 2028;
  • Duration of Temporary Stop Notices: The duration of temporary stop notices in England issued on or after 25 April 2024 will increase from 28 days to 56 days;
  • Enforcement Warning Notices: Local Planning Authorities will obtain the power to issue enforcement warning notices in England, inviting regularisation applications when it appears that a development has taken place in breach of planning control;
  • Restriction on Appeals against Enforcement Notices: Circumstances will be limited where appeals can be brought forward against enforcement notices issued on or after 25 April this year on the ground that planning permission has been made in an attempt to regularise the breach;
  • Undue Delays in Appeals: The Planning Inspectorate will gain the ability to dismiss appeals against enforcement notices and certificates of lawfulness on the grounds of undue delay by the appellant in progressing the appeal; and
  • Penalties for Non-Compliance: The financial penalties for a range of planning enforcement offences is also set to increase.

Heritage - temporary stop notices and building preservation notices

On 25 April, local planning authorities (LPAs) will also gain the power to issue temporary stop notices where they believe works are being carried out to a listed building without listed building consent, or in breach of a condition set out on a listed building consent.

This will mean:

  • LPA would be required to consult with Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England before serving a building preservation notice; and
  • the right to claim compensation for building preservation notices in England will be removed for those coming into effect on or after 25 July this year.

Rebecca Stanton, Associate in the Thrings Planning team, said: “Whilst appearing on the face of it as very significant and daunting changes to enforcement, these regulations could be perceived as a helpful simplification of how to deal with planning breaches. By providing much needed clarity, it will undoubtedly help to smooth out the enforcement process which has become much more reactionary than investigatory at an LPA level in recent years.

“With the four-year rule still taking effect until 2028, those that are seeking to benefit from it will need to ensure they are aware of how the regulations will change from that point onwards and should seek legal advice to avoid any potential risk to their development project from being in breach of planning permissions.”

Thrings’ Planning and Environment lawyers have extensive experience in navigating complex local and national planning policy legislation and has successfully supported commercial and residential applications through the approval and appeal processes. To find out more and for advice on your development proposals, including how to address enforcement notices, please get in touch.

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