Guide to Development Management at Gateshead - page 54

the land, carry out the work and charge the cost of such work to
the liable person, which may also involve a financial charge on
the land. There is the right of appeal to the courts against such
notices, with one of the grounds being that the condition of land
does not adversely affect the amenities of the area.
Injunctions can be sought in the County Court or High Court to
restrain any actual, or expected, breach of planning control. It
must be stressed that this course of action may be taken on its
own or in conjunction with one of the Notices mentioned above.
Such action is only used in extreme cases.
Lawful Development Certificates
A Certificate of Lawful Use may be sought to give immunity from
enforcement. In doing so, it must be demonstrated with
accompanying evidence, that any building has been on site for
over four years or use of the land has carried on for over ten
years. The system provides the possibility of obtaining a
statutory document confirming that the use, operation or activity
named in it, is lawful for planning control purposes. Once
granted, the new type of certificate will remain valid for the use
or development described in it, on the land it describes.
An application must be accompanied by factual information
which is sufficient for the Authority to make a decision. In many
cases affidavits will be required to support the evidence.
If an application is wholly or partly refused, an appeal may be
made to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local
Government. It is a serious offence to make a false or
misleading statement or use false or misleading documents to
obtain a certificate. The maximum fine is up to £20,000 upon
summary conviction.
Action Taken
It is a matter of discretion for the Local Planning Authority as to
which, if any, of these statutory actions it wishes to use to
remedy a breach of planning control. Finally, it is important to
remember that a balance has to be struck between the interests
of the people carrying out development or activities, and the
people who live nearby and may be affected by it. Many parties
affected can get very frustrated with the planning system as the
stages required for enforcing can take considerable time and
there is always the opportunity of appeal. Many complainants
cannot understand how something can not be stopped
immediately, demolished and how a person who has built
something without permission can then apply retrospectively.
These frustrations are understandable, however the planning
system in relation to enforcement can be a difficult one and
fraught with legal interpretations.
The Council therefore does need to use its discretion when
using such powers and also will as a first step seek an amicable
resolution to matters and offer the opportunity to regularise the
position. The fact something has been built without planning
permission will not affect how any planning application to
regularise it retrospectively will be dealt with.
Reporting an alleged planning
enforcement issue
You can report an alleged planning enforcement issue in
several ways:
(0191) 433 3905
by post (see Useful Contacts on page 64)
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