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Luton Borough Council

Planning enforcement tools

Below are listed the various options open to us.

Enforcement notices
A Local Planning Authority can issue an enforcement notice where it considers it is expedient to do so. The notice is be served on the owner and the occupier of the land to which it relates and any other person with an interest in the land - for example: a tenant; a bank; or a building society.
It will state the alleged breach of planning control, the steps required to remedy the breach and the period of time to comply with the requirements. If the notice is not complied with, we may bring a prosecution in the magistrates'  court.
There is a right of appeal to the Secretary of State. This means that the appeals procedure is a slower route for action than other tools. In addition, we have the power to carry out the requirements of the notice itself and recover the costs incurred.
We will consider to take such action in appropriate cases. The notice is also registered as a local land charge and will therefore be made available to anyone interested in purchasing the land. The notice also remains in force once it has been complied with, unless we withdraw it.
Stop notice
A stop notice may be issued in conjunction with an enforcement notice where we consider it is necessary for an activity or use to cease before the time for compliance given in the enforcement notice. A stop notice will only be issued in circumstances where the unauthorised development is particularly harmful or is causing serious harm to neighbouring properties.
Temporary stop notices
These are similar to stop notices but take effect immediately they are displayed on site and remain in force for up to 28 days. A temporary stop notice will only be issued where it is appropriate that the activity or use should cease immediately. During this period we must decide whether to take enforcement action having regard to the potential for the unauthorised activity to resume after the notice has expired. 
This is the only action available if a breach is anticipated but has not yet occurred. It can also be used as an alternative to an enforcement or breach of condition notice. However, it is generally used as a final resort if other methods fail to deter. The granting of an injunction is at the discretion of the court.
section 215 notice.
Where the condition of land or a building is adversely affecting the amenity of the surrounding area, we may issue a section 215 notice. The notice sets out the steps to be taken to remedy that problem. Failure to comply with the notice makes the recipient liable to prosecution in a magistrates court.
Breach of condition notice
A notice may be issued where there is a failure to comply with the conditions imposed on a planning permission. The notice sets out the steps required to comply with the condition. The compliance period is 28 days from the date of service and there is no right of appeal except by way of judicial review.  Failure to comply with the notice makes the recipient liable to prosecution in a magistrates court.
Direct action
The option exists of taking direct action to remedy a breach of planning control. This is available once an enforcement notice is effective and has not been complied with. This action involves us undertaking the remedial work itself and then recovering the costs from the owner.
There is a right of appeal against most statutory notices with the exception of breach of condition notices, stop notices and temporary stop notices. Appeals in most cases are to the Secretary of State or in some cases to the magistrates court. An appeal must be lodged before the date on which the notice takes effect.
The appeal against the notice has the effect of suspending the notice until it is determined. When a notice is issued, the recipient will be given the necessary information on how to exercise the right of appeal.
It is not a criminal offence to carry out development without first obtaining planning permission. However failure to comply with a statutory notice is a criminal offence and we will always consider prosecuting for non-compliance with such notices and in cases where the following offences have been committed:
  • works carried out to listed buildings in the absence of a necessary listed building consent
  • demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area in the absence of any necessary conservation area consent
  • works carried out to a tree protected by a tree preservation order in the absence of any necessary consent
  • the display of an advertisement in the absence of any necessary consent.
Contact info
Development control
Luton Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ

[email protected]


© 2023 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ