The period for service of an Enforcement Notice, where the notice, relates to development, is four (4) years from the carrying out of the development and in the case of non-compliance with a condition or limitation, four (4) years from the alleged failure to comply with it.
In order to be able to apply the time limitations properly, it is necessary to be able to pinpoint the date when the breach occurred. This is sometimes difficult in the case of a material change in use as the change may have been gradual or there may have been slow intensification of the former use.
Enforcement Notices take effect on the expiration of 28 days from the date of the service of the notice.
A copy of the Enforcement Notice must be served on the owner and the occupier of the land to which it relates and, if the Chief Town Planner thinks fit, on any other person, whose interest in the land, is in the opinion of the Chief Town Planner, materially affected by the notice.
An Enforcement Notice must specify clearly and accurately the development, which it is alleged has been carried out without planning permission or, in the case of a breach of conditions or limitations, the matters on which it is alleged that conditions or limitations subject to which planning permission was originally granted have not been complied with (s.33 (4)(a)). It should also specify the steps to be taken in order to remedy the breach (s.33 (4)(b).
An Enforcement Notice may, for example, require:
- the alteration or removal of any buildings or works;
- the discontinuance of any use of land; or
- the carrying out on land of any building or other operations.
Enforcement Notices must specify the period within which any of the foregoing steps is to be taken, however, the CTP may allow extended periods as he deems fit.
Any person who has been served an Enforcement Notice has the right to submit an application for the retention of the said development within 28 days of the service of the notice. If an application is made within the 28 day period the Enforcement Notice has no effect pending the final determination of the application.
Where planning permission is granted for the retention on land of a building, engineering or other works or the continuance of use to which the Enforcement Notice relates, the Enforcement Notice ceases to have effect in so far as it requires steps to be taken to remedy the breach of planning control.
Rights of Entry for Enforcement Purposes
Subsection 1(c) of Section 76 of the Town and Country Planning Act provides that the CTP or any person duly authorised by him in writing may enter upon the land to perform such duties and functions required under the said section.
In cases where the necessary steps to comply with an enfnorcement notcice have not been undertaken within the period specified in the enforcement notice or any such extended period as the CTP may allow, then under Section 37(i) the CTP or any person authorised by him may take the necessary steps and recover, as a civil debt, expenses reasonably incured.