Friday, 17 December 2010

Localism Bill – Enforcement provisions (2)


We have not yet finished with Clause 103. It is clear from press statements from De-CLoG that the intention of this clause is to prevent the alleged exploitation of the planning system by gypsies and travellers through lodging multiple applications and appeals for the retention of unauthorised caravan sites. Whatever your view of that may be, the new Section 70C will be a catch-all provision which could well affect many other people who are genuinely attempting to defend their legitimate interests, and it is likely to work injustice for the reasons I explained in my previous post.

Clause 103 will also amend section 174 [in England only] by inserting a provision that an appeal may not be brought under Ground (a) (that planning permission ought to be granted) if the enforcement notice was issued after a related planning application had been made (i.e. in respect of the same matters as are specified in the enforcement notice as constituting a breach of planning control), but before the end of the 8-week period [or 13/16-week period as applicable] under section 78(2) in the case of that application [i.e. the time for appealing against a deemed refusal by reason of non-determination]. Corresponding amendments are proposed to section 177 (the deemed application for planning permission in enforcement notice appeals) and this change will also apply in Wales.

I must confess that I am at a loss to understand the perceived problem at which this amendment is aimed. Where related Section 78 and Section 174 appeals are lodged by the same appellant they are nearly always consolidated and determined together (or should be), so wherein lies the ‘evil’ in this situation? The intention seems to be to force appellants to choose in this situation between appealing the refusal of planning permission or relying instead on the Ground (a) appeal (or deemed application under section 177) in an appeal against the enforcement notice. The only purpose served by this change would appear to be to make a minor saving in administrative time and effort for PINS. Yet I have a nagging feeling that I have missed something here; no doubt it will all become clear in due course.

And we still haven’t got beyond discussing just one clause in the Bill! Clauses 104 to 106 will have to await another post.


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