Some recent cases and decisions on planning enforcement issues show that there are significant consequences for failing to comply with planning control. Recent examples include a requirement to demolish a house, a fine of £250,000 and an injunction to vacate a site.

The past couple of months have seen some interesting decisions in relation to the enforcement and protection of planning control.

Firstly, as a result of a further appeal by Mr Fidler, PINS has determined (again) that the construction of the “straw bale house” and its use for residential purposes and as a single dwelling house was not lawful and therefore that the house should be demolished.

This appeal came further to the refusal by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council to issue certificates of lawfulness relating to the property.

Secondly, a guilty plea in a prosecution against five breaches of an enforcement notice served by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council has led to a £250,000 fine (plus costs of over £13,000) being imposed by Sheffield Crown Court. The fine came with a warning that a two-year prison sentence awaited if the sum was not paid within 30 days.

In that case, the enforcement notice related to setting up a “makeshift business park” on Greenfield farm land. The judge noted that the breaches of the notice were particularly “flagrant”.

Doncaster has also been successful in securing an injunction to remove travellers from a site which they had occupied without planning permission for three-and-a-half years, notwithstanding that they owned the site. The court in that case cited that bearing in mind the planning authority’s enforcement action, there was a real risk that the planning system and criminal law would be brought into “serious disrepute” if such a remedy was held to be disproportionate because of the interference with the travellers' rights under the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 art.8 or their children's rights”.