Retrospective planning permission
Planning permission is the legal process followed in order to decide whether proposed developments should be allowed to go ahead. Responsibility for planning permissions lies with local planning authorities (usually, the planning department of the district or borough council).
It is possible to apply for retrospective planning permission after works have begun. The local planning authority will then consider the application in the same way that they would any other application. Retrospective permission may be granted, however, there is a very serious risk that permission will not be granted and then enforcement action may be taken. This could include modifying completed works, or returning the development to its previous ‘permitted’ state. Appeals can be made to the planning inspectorate.
Planning enforcement is the process of investigating and resolving possible breaches of planning law. Breaches might include:
- Not obtaining planning permission for works that require permission (including; listed buildings, satellite dishes, advertisements, protected trees and so on).
- Not carrying out works in accordance with a permission.
- Not complying with planning conditions or other limitations.
- Changing the use of a site or buildings without obtaining planning permission where planning permission is required.
Local planning authorities have discretionary power to investigate and enforce these breaches using whatever enforcement action may be necessary in the public interest. One possible enforcement action is to ask the party in breach to make a retrospective planning application if they have not already done so. However, permission may still then be refused.
- Planning authorities can decline to determine retrospective applications after an enforcement notice has been issued.
- Limits have been introduced to the right of appeal against an enforcement notice after a retrospective planning application has been submitted, but before the time for making a decision has expired.
- Limiting appeals on technical grounds resulting in the granting of planning consent.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Avoiding planning permission pitfalls.
- Listed buildings.
- Localism Act.
- National Planning Policy Framework.
- National Planning Practice Guidance.
- Permitted development.
- Planning appeal.
- Planning authority.
- Planning conditions.
- Planning enforcement.
- Planning obligations.
- Planning permission.
 External references.
- House of Commons Library, Enforcement of Planning Law. 16 July 2013.
Featured articles and news
CEOs and high-level executives explain who they expect to be the most successful players in the future of construction.
What are package contracts and how are they broken down? Find out in our introductory article.
Identifying sustainable shoreline protection solutions in the face of rising sea levels and storms in the US.
Budget documents state modern methods of construction will be favoured for public infrastructure schemes from 2019.
A walk-through exhibition of an emergency humanitarian shelter is officially opened at BRE's Innovation Park.
How to work safely on a construction site during winter.
Housing is the big winner in Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Budget.
The winner of our BSRIA competition, Tomorrow's challenges in today's buildings, is.... Bob Hendrikx. A big thank you to everyone that took part.
Committee of MPs accuses government of dealing billpayers a 'bad hand' over the guaranteed power price.
In 1992, the Joint Fire Code was first published. What influence does it still have on construction sites today?
"Companies will have to adapt or go out of business" - how are virtual reality and big data disrupting digital construction?
International Well Building Institute and BRE collaborate on multiple levels to advance human health through better buildings.
"The industry has tried moving away from prescriptivism to focus on performance, but maybe that’s no longer working".