The deadline for applications has now passed. Applications for the Planning Enforcement Fund are not being accepted from 11 January 2016.
Ashfords LLP are offering a joint fixed fee service which enables Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to take advantage of a new £1m Government fund for securing injunctions in planning enforcement matters.
Ashfords in conjunction with 39 Essex Chambers are offering a joint service in which we will cover all legal work for a combined fixed fee, which includes:
- Specialist planning solicitors liaising directly with your enforcement team.
- Assessing the proposed injunctive action against the scheme’s eligibility criteria.
- Preparing and submitting the application form and requisite costs estimate to the scheme’s administrators as well as handling all subsequent correspondence.
- Specialist planning barristers preparing the application and grounds to Court for an injunction.
- Representing the Local Planning Authority in any Court direction or substantive hearings.
Where is the funding coming from?
A total of £1m has been made available by the Department for Communities and Local Government for LPAs in England. LPAs can apply for up to £10,000 (or 50% of the estimated legal costs, whichever is the lesser) towards the cost of securing a Court Injunction in the High Court or County Court.
As the Government will fund 50% of local authority legal costs for cases up to a maximum of £10,000, authorities will only be responsible for the other 50% of the up to a maximum of £20,000. We would confirm the proposed total fee with you prior to undertaking any work.
What is available?
1. There is a limit of one application per site.
2. The maximum amount of grant that can be applied for is £10,000 (or 50% of your estimated legal costs, whichever is the lesser) towards the cost of securing a Court Injunction in the High Court or County Court. A costs estimate should set out details of anticipated legal costs likely to be incurred in preparation of issuing legal proceedings and attending Court. Non-legal specialist officer time must not be included. The local planning authority is responsible for any legal costs incurred in excess of £10,000 or in excess of any lesser sum applied for and granted.
3. Funding is not available:
- If Court proceedings have commenced; or
- Where an appellant appeals against an enforcement notice issued by the local planning authority, within 28 days of receiving the notice, to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
The fund is solely for the use by LPAs, in England, towards the cost of securing a Court injunction (High or County Court), under Section 187B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, against actual or apprehended breaches of planning control to be restrained. Funding is only available where other enforcement options have been, or would be, ineffective, or where there have been persistent breaches of planning control over a long period.
In order to be considered for an award of a grant, an application for funding needs to address the following criteria:-
- Confirmation the commencement of injunction proceedings is authorised; the source of that authority (e.g. planning committee/named delegated officer) and the date obtained.
- Confirmation your authority has taken legal advice on the proposed injunction (internal or external) from whom and on what date.
- Demonstrate why the action is in the general interest.
- Explain the degree and flagrancy of the breach of planning control.
- Set out the enforcement history for the site e.g. what other measures have failed over a long period of time.
- Explain any urgency needed to remedy the breach.
- Set out the planning history of the site.
- Provide details of previous planning decisions in relation to the site.
- Set out consideration of the Public Sector Equality Duty (section 149 of the Equality Act 2010) and Human Rights Act 1998.
- Demonstrate that an injunction is a proportionate remedy in the circumstances of the individual case.
- Amount of funding requested, including a breakdown of estimated legal spend on legal costs in 2014-15 and 2015-16 (grant is only available for spend in these financial years). Non-legal specialist officer time must not be included in the estimate.
To qualify for consideration, an LPA is required to confirm it has adopted the enforcement best practice recommended in paragraph 207 of the National Planning Policy Framework and published its plan to manage enforcement of breaches proactively. The LPA’s enforcement plan must have been published at least three months prior to applying for a grant and a LPA is required to confirm adherence to the recommendations of the National Planning Policy Framework of how the authority:
- Monitors the implementation of planning permissions.
- Investigates alleged breaches of planning control.
- Take enforcement action whenever it is expedient to do so.
Applications for funding will be assessed by the organisation running the scheme in January, April, July and October of each year. The last date for applying for grant is Monday, 11th January 2016.