This article previously appeared in the March 2015 NAPE Newsletter
With the Easter and May bank holidays fast approaching local planning authorities may find themselves preparing to take pre-emptive enforcement action to restrain apprehended breaches of planning control by gypsy’s and travellers due to the belief (perhaps unfairly) that it is at this time of the year that such unauthorised development is most likely to take place.
The only way to restrain an apprehended breach of planning control is by applying to the Courts for an injunction under s187B of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended). If successfully obtained an injunction can prevent potentially years of officer time and associated costs as the matter might otherwise have to be dealt with through the planning appeals system following enforcement action. Of course injunctions can also be sought against breaches of planning control that are actually occurring.
The importance of planning injunctions has recently been recognised by Central Government who in January announced the provision of a £1m Planning Enforcement Fund aimed at providing funding of up to £10,000 or 50% of the estimated legal costs (whichever is lesser) for local planning authorities towards the legal costs of seeking a court injunction.
The wide ranging powers of an injunction were recently demonstrated by Harlow Council & Essex County Council who after dealing with 109 different unauthorised encampments since October 2013 took the unprecedented step of seeking a town wide injunction to protect 454 separate parcels of land from future unauthorised traveller encampments. An interim injunction was granted by the High Court on 3rd March 2015, with a hearing for a full injunction scheduled to take place later in the year. Details of the Harlow & Essex injunction can be found here
Ivy Legal Ltd