Broadland District Council v Trott (2011)

Planning permission had been granted for a development of flats with a condition that development could not begin until a landscaping scheme had been approved by the local authority. The developer (Trott) began development without approval of their landscaping scheme. The authority served an enforcement notice, alleging breach of planning control. Trott appealed against this notice and the planning inspector held that the notice was unclear. By agreement with the parties he amended the notice and added a requirement that Trott make the landscaped area available for the enjoyment of residents. Trott did not make the land available for the enjoyment of residents and the authority were granted an injunction for the breach of planning control under s187B TCPA 1990.

Trott appealed against the decision to grant the injunction. He stated that the judge had erred in concluding 1) that the enforcement notice was capable of correction rather than a nullity and 2) that there was a breach of condition.

The court rejected the first ground because the amendment had not been objected to at the time it was made. However, as to the second ground it found in favour of Trott. Non-compliance with a requirement in an enforcement notice did not amount to non-compliance with the condition in the planning permission. The authority granted the planning permission on the reasonable assumption that the disputed area would be made available to the occupiers of the proposed flats as an amenity space, but had not specified that as a condition of the planning permission. As such, there was no breach of condition. This shows the importance of making conditions clear, and not relying on implied meanings.