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Important changes to planning enforcement timescales

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An important change has taken place from today under the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Act 2023 for anyone extending or planning to extend their property in England.

Until today if an extension was built on a property that required planning permission and planning permission was not obtained, after four years the planning authority would not be able to take enforcement proceedings against the owner. As from today this period has changed to 10 years. Therefore if an extension is not already substantially completed to a property on which planning permission is required, the planning authority now has 10 years in which to take enforcement action. This does not apply to extensions that are built under permitted development regulations.

Owners of properties on which extensions have recently been added or are substantially completed are advised to keep dated photographs and documentation which can demonstrate the transitional provisions apply should the need arise to challenge any enforcement proceedings.

However, if there is deliberate concealment of any development so that it is not obvious development is taking or has taken place, there is no time limit on enforcement proceedings being brought.