Councils in Northern Ireland are responsible for the enforcement of any breaches in planning. This includes developments or operations carried out without permission, illegal signage or breach of planning conditions in a previous approval. In all but the most serious cases, councils will seek to remedy any breach before taking formal enforcement proceedings. As failure to comply with a formal enforcement notice is a criminal offence (carrying a maximum fine of £100,000 per offender plus costs), any correspondence from a council indicating that planning enforcement is being considered, must be taken very seriously.
There are often remedies which can be applied but it is essential that a response to a threat of enforcement is submitted as soon as possible after you are aware that enforcement is being considered.
C60 Architects and Town Planners have successfully negotiated resolutions in a number of planning enforcement cases, so if you have received a letter from the council threatening enforcement give us a call to discuss how best to respond.