Planning Permission

Planning permission is needed for carrying out any development of land. Development is defined by the Town and Planning Act as being of two kinds:-

First, the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, over or under land.

Secondly, the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land.

Certain kinds of specific development are automatically given deemed permission under the General Permitted Development Order. Two examples are the erection of fences (subject to height restrictions) and small extensions to existing dwelling houses. Such works do not normally require planning permission though exceptionally the original planning permission for the construction of the property may provide that the General Permitted Development Order is not to apply.

Is there a time limit after which one is safe if one has carried out development without planning permission or in breach of the detailed conditions?

The usual enforcement periods for breaches of the Planning Regulations are four years for building operations etc., and ten years for changes in use. In the latter case, if after the ten year period has elapsed you need documentary proof that the existing use is legal you can apply to the local planning authority for an established use certificate.

Listed Buildings

Great care must be taken before purchasing or altering a listed building, particularly as there is no time limit for enforcement. Any historic breaches of the listed building regulations can be enforced at any time against the current owner of the property.

Conservation Areas

Certain areas are designated as conservation areas by the local planning authority. This has the effect of requiring planning permission to be obtained for certain works which otherwise might be permitted under the General Permitted Development Order. Moreover, works on trees are regulated and may require specific consent.

Building Regulations

The Building Regulations regulate the standards of construction and compliance with them is necessary whenever building works or alterations to drains are to be undertaken. The need for this is separate from the other consents mentioned above.

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