Enforcement Notices

February 26th, 2018 by James Goudie KC

Hargrave House Ltd v Highbury Corner Magistrates Court and Islington Council (2018) EWHC 279 (Admin) was an application for judicial review concerning the construction of the word “repair” in an enforcement order (EN) issued by a planning authority against a developer who was in breach of planning regulations. Section 173 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 relates to the contents and effect of an EN.  Section 179 deals with offences where an EN is not complied with.

Cheema-Grubb J said:-

“23.    … Words have meanings in their context.  The meaning of even a familiar word will vary according to when it is used. In the context of a notice requiring the claimant to remedy a breach of planning regulations what repairs are necessary will depend on the extent of the breach. …”

“27.    … I have no hesitation in concluding that the meaning of the word “repair” in the EN is sufficiently clear for the purposes of a criminal enactment …

  1. 28. There is no definition of repairs within the TCPA scheme. This must be because the draughtsman and Parliament considered it unnecessary for further definition to be provided. Repair is an ordinary English word. Its meaning is context specific. In the context of an EN issued because of a breach of planning procedure common sense indicates that the only repair that will satisfy the notice will be one that makes good the activity that has led to the breach….”

“30.    In context, the terms of the EN were crystal clear. … finding that ‘Repair’ encompassed rebuilding two walls, if necessary. There was no lack of specificity …”

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