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Craven District Council

Planning enforcement - notices and powers

A guide to the notices, enforcement powers and actions available to the Council.

Planning Contravention Notice

Used where there appears to be a breach of planning control and the Council wishes to find out more information. The recipient has 21 days to provide the information requested. Failure to comply with the notice or to knowingly or recklessly give false or misleading information in response to it is a criminal offence.

Enforcement Notice

Served to remedy a breach of planning control by requiring an unauthorised use to stop or building works removed. The notice states the action the Council requires the developer to take to correct the situation and provides a reasonable time period for compliance. Failure to comply is a criminal offence and may lead to prosecution. The recipient may appeal an enforcement notice before it takes effect and if an appeal is submitted the requirements of the enforcement notice do not have to be met whilst the appeal is considered.  The appeal is made to the Planning Inspectorate who makes the decision on whether the enforcement notice should be upheld.

Breach of Condition Notice

This notice may be used where there is a failure to comply with one or more conditions imposed on a grant of planning permission. There is no right of appeal and failure to comply with this notice is a criminal offence and may lead to prosecution. 

Stop Notice

A stop notice has to be served in conjunction with an enforcement notice. It is used where unauthorised development may cause long term and severe damage to the local area and must be dealt with straight away.  They are used rarely and in extreme circumstances. Improper use of a stop notice can result in the Council incurring significant claims for compensation.

Temporary Stop Notice

Can be issued without the need for an Enforcement Notice, takes effect immediately, but is only in force for 28 days. Used in similar circumstances to a stop notice and the Council can incur claims for compensation due to improper use.

Section 215 Notice

Sometimes referred to as an ‘Untidy Land and Buildings Notice’ or a ‘Wasteland Notice’. Can be used in cases where the condition of land and buildings has a negative impact on the local area. The notice is served on the occupier or owner of the land requiring it to be improved to an appropriate standard. There is a right of appeal against the notice through the courts. Failure to comply with its requirements is an offence and may lead to prosecution. 

Other enforcement powers and actions available to the Council  


Where a Notice has not been complied with, the Council may prosecute through the courts. In some instances operations undertaken without the appropriate consents are a criminal offence for which there is no need for the Council to first serve a Notice. It is a criminal offence to: 

  • Carry out unauthorised alterations to a listed building (Important. A listed building is protected both externally and internally).
  • Carry out unauthorised works to a tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order, or a tree in a Conservation Area.
  • Display certain types of Advertisements without the appropriate consent.


Direct Action

Exceptionally, should the terms of an enforcement notice not be complied with, the Council can enter a site to carry out the works required by an enforcement notice itself and the costs incurred can be recovered from the owner. 

Entry onto land

The Council’s Enforcement Officers have powers to enter land and buildings to investigate breaches of Planning Control. It is a criminal offence to wilfully obstruct an authorised person using this right of entry. For buildings used as dwelling houses, notice of intended entry has to be given to the occupier 24 hours in advance. This does not apply to outbuildings or gardens.

Immunity from Enforcement Action

Enforcement action cannot be taken against unauthorised development if: 

  • An unauthorised building or other operational development (i.e. some kind of physical development) has been substantially completed for more than 4 years.
  • An unauthorised change of use of a building to a dwelling house has taken place for more than 4 years.
  • An unauthorised change of use of a building or land has taken place for at least 10 years.
  • The conditions of a planning permission have been breached for at least 10 years.

A variety of complaints are received that are beyond our powers. These include:

  • Neighbour disputes
  • Land ownership/boundary disputes
  • Parking or activities carried out in the highway