Quentin saves client's home in Planning Enforcement Order case

Quentin saves client's home in Planning Enforcement Order case


Mr NB was being pursued in the Magistrates Court by Malden District Council who sought a Planning Enforcement Order in respect of a property that he had built on his land. Quentin was briefed by NB as a member of the public on a direct public access basis.


A planning enforcement order is a measure that can be sought by a local authority to enable them to take enforcement action against a property in circumstances where they would otherwise be out of time. Such an order can be sought in the Magistrates Court under s171BC of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.


Quentin has written an article about the law in respect of Planning Enforcement Orders which can be viewed here.


The case was vital to NB, as if unsuccessful it would have led to an order being made against his home, where he had lived for over six years and would have eventually rendered him homeless.


Quentin sought to make a number of arguments in the case including-


  • That the council were out of time for the application for such an order due to the time limits outlined within s171BB of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990;
  • That the certificate produced by the Council under s171BB(b) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 was plainly wrong and was dishonestly produced;
  • That the deliberate concealment of the property did not take place as alleged (pursuant to s171BC(1)(a) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990);
  • That deliberate concealment was not causative of the Council’s decision in circumstances that it should be and
  • That it was not just to make a PEO in all the circumstances of the case (pursuant to s171BC(1)(b) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990).


The matter was both factually and legally complicated and both parties exchanged evidential bundles and skeleton arguments on the law prior to an all-day hearing in the Colchester Magistrates Court before a District Judge.


At the hearing Quentin was able to effectively cross examine the council officers exposing what the District Judge described as ‘reckless’ failures in the Council’s investigation. In the ruling of the District Judge at the end of the case, he found for Mr NB, stating that in his view it would be ‘considerably unfair’ to make a Planning Enforcement order in the case.


Mr NB was able to remain in his home and was delighted at the result in the case.


Quentin Hunt is a criminal defence Barrister who specialises in dealing with planning enforcement cases in the Magistrates and Crown Courts. Quentin accepts instructions both through solicitors and directly from members of the public and companies. If you find yourself facing an investigation or court case in respect of a Planning Enforcement Order, you can contact Quentin for a free, no obligation conversation about your case.