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Last edited 18 Sep 2020
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.
- 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.
 Find out more
 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.
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