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Planning and Rating
An authorised local authority official may enter premises for various planning purposes, including :
- Preparing or approving development plans.
- Dealing with applications for planning permission.
- Making a valuation in connection with compensation.
- Making a survey in connection with a compulsory purchase order.
- Investigating whether development has occurred without planning permission.
- Carrying out any similar functions in respect of tree preservation.
Either the official must give you 24 hours’ notice or, if you have refused to permit entry (including by failing to answer a proper request to enter) or if the case is urgent, he or she must secure a warrant from a magistrate authorising entry . The official may only enter at a reasonable hour, unless he enters on a warrant granted in a case of urgency.
As with utility companies, the local authority must leave your property as effectively secured against trespassers as they found it if they are entering in your absence, ; and in any event, the authority must pay you compensation for any damage caused. It is an offence under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, wilfully to obstruct the official where proper notice has been given. The maximum penalty for such an offence is set at level 3 (currently £1,000) .
If you fail to comply with a planning enforcement notice by the relevant deadline, planning officials may also enter your land in order to take the steps required by the enforcement notice. In these circumstances, the local planning authority may recover from you any expenses which they reasonably incur. Wilfully obstructing an official or the authority when attempting to do either of those things is an offence. If convicted you face a maximum fine at level 3 (currently £1,000). Similar provisions apply where you fail to comply with a requirement to replace trees removed in breach of a tree preservation order.
Parliament is currently considering a Planning Bill which will substantially alter the planning regime as a whole. The Bill, like the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, contains a number of clauses relating to powers of entry .
A local assessor may enter any property in the area in order to carry out a survey or make a valuation for the purposes of drawing up rating valuation lists. The official must give three clear days’ notice in writing, excluding weekends and bank holidays. Under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 it is an offence wilfully to obstruct or delay the official provided that proper notice has been given ; the maximum penalty is a fine at level 2 (currently £500).