Planning permission is required for the carrying out of development, of which there are three (3) forms. First, the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, secondly the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or land. (Section 16, Town and Country Planning Act 240) and thirdly subdivision of land. However, unauthorized development is carried out and this is controlled by law through enforcement action.
The enforcement of planning control over the development of land is dealt with in Part V, of the Town and Country Planning Act Cap. 240. The 'Enforcement Notice' is the principal means of enforcement and where the Chief Town Planner (CTP) is of the opinion that a breach of planning control has occurred, he may issue an Enforcement Notice.
The purpose of enforcement is primarily remedial. The procedure is designed to offer the developer an opportunity to make good his breach. The notice must specify the remedial steps required by the C T P and allow a reasonable period for compliance. Failure to remedy a breach of planning control, when required to do so by a Enforcement Notice served by the CTP in excersie of his enforcement duties, is an offence.
Under Section 33 of the Town & Country Planning Act Cap 240, the CTP may issue an Enforcement Notice subject to any directions given by the Minister and to the provisions of Section 33, if he considers it expedient to do so having regard of the development plan and to any other material consideration, where it appears to him that there has been a breach of planning control. Such breaches can take two forms:-
- Carrying out development without the required planning permission.
- Failing to comply with any conditions attached to the planning permission.
Execution by the Chief Town Planner of Work Required By an Enforcement Notice
If an Enforcement Notice, which has come into operation, requires specific steps to be taken and those steps are not taken within the period specified in the notice, then under Section 37 of the Act the Chief Town Planner or persons authorised by the CTP may enter on the land affected by the notice and take the necessary steps and, having done so, may recover reasonable expenses incurred from the owner of the land.
Section 38 of the Act also makes provision for the Chief Town Planner to dispose by sale any materials,which have been removed from the land, including any street, and which remain unclaim by the owner after seven (7) clear days following their removal. However, if the Chief Town Planner sells any materials then, after deducting the amount of any expenses recoverable, he has to pay the proceeds to the person to whom the materials belonged.
Continuing Efficacy of Enforcement Notice against Subsequent Development
Compliance with the terms of an Enforcement Notice does not discharge the notice. Therefore the resumption of a use of land, after that use has been discontinued in compliance with an Enforcement Notice, will constitute a further contravention. Similarly, if development of land, by way of reinstating or restoring buildings or works, which have been demolished or altered in compliance with an Enforcement Notice, is carried out, the Enforcement Notice is deemed to apply to such reinstated buildings or works. (s. 40).
Where the Chief Town Planner proposes to take enforcement action under Section 40 (4)(a) of the Act in respect of such irregular reinstated buildings or works he must give not less than 28 days notice of his intention to the owner and occupier before taking any steps.