Town Planning Review

Discretion and expediency in the enforcement of planning controls

Town Planning Review (2010), 81, (6), 675–700.

Abstract

The enforcement of planning controls in the British planning system is an activity that exhibits a high degree of discretion in decision-making. Local planning authorities are empowered to enforce against breaches of planning control where they consider it 'expedient' to do so. The paper addresses the concepts of discretion and expediency in relation to planning enforcement. It traces the evolution of discretionary enforcement in British planning legislation and relates this to the formally stated purposes of enforcement action, as well as the various considerations of local planning authorities in determining whether it is expedient to take enforcement action. The paper concludes that there is a significant degree of ambiguity in the purposes of enforcement action in Britain, each with their own characteristic basis for discretionary decision-making.

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Author details

Harris, Neil