Susan61

Notice of intention to issue Enforcement Action

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Hi - apologies for the long post but has anyone any advice on this issue - we have erected a side dormer on a detached house under Permitted Development.  

 

A planning compliance officer unexpectedly visited our property at the stage when only the timber framework was up.  Assuming a neighbour had reported this.   The planning officer asked the builder to see the plans as we weren’t present.  She asked what the dormer would be faced with which he replied white cladding.  

 

Compliance officer then ring to say it had to be tiled.  We pointed out that a recently completed almost identical dormer near us was cladded to which she replied ‘we don’t go looking for work’ .  

 

We told her the builder was unable to source the tiles and she said leeway had been granted during Covid due to materials shortage but she believed this was now resolved.  She also emailed the next day to say windows had to be obscure and non opening below 1.7m.  She  went on holiday but said to email the compliance team with any problems or issues and they would pick it up.  

 

We tried multiple suppliers but could not source the tiles.  We emailed the compliance team to ask if we could use brown cladding as PD criteria was the material didn’t have to be the same only visually similar to the existing roof and also sent a screenshot to evidence supply issues.   We waited a month but got no response.  We tried to ring but no option for planning on the menu.  

 

The builder couldn’t wait any longer and the scaffolding needed to go so we went with the brown cladding.  Two days after installation the compliance officer visited the site and we received the notice of intention to go to enforcement with no further communication as we had ignored advice and used brown cladding and that the windows weren’t opaque.  

 

We emailed again saying we hadn’t had a response from them after a month and the builder couldn’t wait any longer but would not have used the brown cladding if they had said no.  We also told her the windows are opaque.  Still no response two weeks later.  

 

We understood that government guidelines state there should be negotiation before enforcement but they have gone straight to enforcement.  At the time they advised us about materials there had been no breach.  We feel we haven’t been given any chance to negotiate.  

 

We did manage to speak to another officer on the team when we eventually found a number to ring and their view was matching materials is very subjective but he could see the enforcement notice was being prepared .

 

So far we have been unable to speak to the relevant officer as she is out of the office most of the time.  We are not sure what our chances would be if we appealed so would prefer to be given the chance to sort this out prior to enforcement but are hitting a brick wall.  

 

We are not sure whether to now let it go to appeal but would have to employ a planning consultant and we aren’t sure what the chances of success are.  

 

We would appreciate any views on this.  Many thanks.

Edited by jack
Added paragraph breaks

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Look up and contact head of planning for your area and raise a complaint.

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I suspect they have only issued another  "notice of intention to begin enforcement". 

 

You have multiple options...

 

1) Wait for formal enforcement and appeal on the grounds it's permitted development. 

 

2) Apply for a CLD on the grounds that it's permitted development. If refused Appeal.

 

3) Make a planning application. If refused Appeal.

 

4) Ignore them and hope they never actually issue enforcement.

 

If someone complains planners feel obliged to investigate to avoid a more serious complaint. They might approve a retrospective planning application for what you have built because it solves all their issues. Eg it makes it all legal and kills off any complaint from neighbours.

 

Which you choose depends on how compliant with PDR you think your work is.

 

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get your local counciller on the case. even if they issue a notice you can appeal it.

 

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I'm not sure if I would raise a complaint as I'd hedge my bet that it wouldnt resolve your issue. I would consider retrospective planning application. What are the details of the tiles you were advised to use and what did you actually use?

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Thanks for your replies.  We originally applied for planning permission but this was refused in the grounds of the impact on the streetscene.  They then suggested we go down the route of Permitted Development.  The compliance officer  said we should use plain tiles for the cheeks and face of the dormer to match the roof.   The roof is brown Double Roman tiles.  The flat tiles don’t match the profile of the roof tiles either.   We couldn’t source the roof tiles due to Covid supply problems but used brown cladding rather than the white cladding we thought would be ok as the front of the house is already clad in white.  Condition B2 of Permitted Development criteria states materials should match the existing roof but not necessarily the same material.

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Edited by Susan61
Add photo and edit typo

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Paint the cladding white. Get the job passed and signed off and then go back to brown if you really want to. 

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Are there other dormers in your area clad in brown? If so I think I would submit a retrospective application together with a set of photos of similar dormers.

 

 

 

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It looks fine I reckon.  I'd try and escalate it within the council, and call their bluff.  They'll be hard-pushed to justify any enforcement action given their lack of engagement and error regarding the windows.

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Thank you for all your replies.   We have already been turned down for planning permission and advised to go down the Permitted Development route by the Council.  There are other dormers in our area but these have probably been constructed some time ago if that makes any difference.

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Does an enforcement action take effect from the day it is issued, or does the Council have to convince a Judge about the validity of its argument?

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There has to be at least 28 days between service of any notice and it coming into effect. This gives the person on whom the notice has been served the opportunity to appeal the notice, and puts the notice in aspic until the appeal has been determined. The appeal may be upheld and notice dismissed, the notice varied or appeal rejected. Compliance timescales are not fixed and can vary, be staged depending on the requirements of the notice. 

 

Enforcement appeals are determined by planning reporters.  You would have to go to judicial review on a point of planning law to get a Judge involved.

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@Susan61

 

Is the dormer cladding on the house adjacent white - appears so from the photo? I would suggest this would be something to use in any discussion with the planning authority.

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They do have a white cladded dormer on both sides of their roof but they are much smaller dormers than ours.  There are several cladded dormers on our estate of a similar size to ours in various colours.

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20 hours ago, Susan61 said:

We couldn’t source the roof tiles due to Covid supply problems

I’m afraid i have little sympathy for this. I made life much more complicated for myself so that I could comply with PD, including waiting 18 weeks for the supply of roof tiles, and building things in an illogical order. If I were you I would order the tiles and fix the breach when they eventually arrive.

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It will be a real pain to strip the cladding and tile it.  Have you worked out the cost?  It may be worth doing this and presenting the council with the costings and time involved to see if they could be swayed.  Paying thousands and throwing away perfectly good materials does not seem environmentally or financially responsible for the questionable benefit that may arise.

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2 hours ago, Stones said:

There has to be at least 28 days between service of any notice and it coming into effect. This gives the person on whom the notice has been served the opportunity to appeal the notice

 

 

Thanks. A bit of reading up on the appeals process clarifies that these typically take 3 months. Worst case is that the recipient of an enforcement notice has 4 months to effect a solution. The OP said the scaffolding had to be taken down which implies there is time to revise the cladding.

 

I assume if a householder completely refused to comply with an enforcement notice after loosing an appeal many more months would elapse before a council appointed contractor would be appointed to enter and alter a property.

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32 minutes ago, epsilonGreedy said:

many more months would elapse before a council appointed contractor would be appointed to enter and alter a property.

I would be more concerned with the fact that failure to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence.

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5 minutes ago, Adsibob said:

I would be more concerned with the fact that failure to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence.

 

 

Sure but I have never read any thread that examines the likely timeline of a worst case enforcement action.

 

Presumably after many further letters from the Council they will report a matter to local police who will visit the property owner for a chat. Then the police would have to submit a file to the Crown Prosecution Service and given press reports about the performance of that branch of government, 3 years later the CPS would probably decide to drop the case.

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19 minutes ago, Adsibob said:

I would be more concerned with the fact that failure to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence.

But stealing someone’s house isn’t 🤔

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9 minutes ago, markc said:

But stealing someone’s house isn’t 🤔

Who is stealing whose house here?

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2 minutes ago, Adsibob said:

Who is stealing whose house here?

 

 

I think this is a reference to the recent news that some branches of the nation state declined to intervene in the case of whole house theft through land registry fraud, yet another branch of the state is willing to criminalize a householder over a dispute about dormer window cladding.

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12 minutes ago, markc said:

But stealing someone’s house isn’t 🤔

You can't spank your mates either, even if they want you to.

R V Brown 1994

A much more interesting case than Ryland V Fletcher or Nash v Inman, which has no relevance here at all.

 

I do seem to remember there was an interesting case where some protesters damaged some military equipment.  They got off because by damaging the planes (I think it was) they had saved a greater crime being committed i.e. dropping bombs.

But I don't think putting up white or brown tiles/cladding falls into this group.

 

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