Planning Law Advice & Appeals

At Mercantile Barristers, our Planning Law barristers in London have extensive experience of Town and Country Planning Law. We are regularly instructed to advice on all aspects of planning, highway and environment law, from major regeneration projects to providing advice on planning enforcement.

The list of services our London-based Planning Law barristers provide includes but not limited to: compulsory purchases; drafting and negotiating section 106 agreements, advising on the community infrastructure levy; the National Planning Policy Framework; the national planning policy guidance; local plan policies; Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations; listed building and conservation area issues; appropriate use of planning conditions; certificates of lawful use and development; and enforcement matters; planning application; planning appeals refused and planning permission.

In contentious circumstances, our Planning Law barristers in London are excellent at devising tactical and strategic planning dispute resolution strategies.


Planning Enforcement Notice

A Planning Enforcement Notice is a formal notice issued by your local council requiring specific action be taken to remedy a breach of planning control. It is usually issued where development has taken place on land or property without the correct planning permission. However, this is not the only way that planning laws can be broken; as even if you do have planning permission for a certain structure but then build it contrary to the permitted plans, your local council will issue a Planning Enforcement Notice to rectify it. This is usually referred to as a ‘breach of condition’. If you change the use of a property without planning permission, this is deemed ‘unauthorised change of use’.

Contact by the Council
You can expect contact by the local council to be made before the Planning Enforcement Notice is issued, so it should not come as a surprise. An enforcement officer will usually visit the property or send a letter if you have been refused planning permission and ignored it. For example, they may have rejected a planning extension and you have gone ahead anyway. When writing, they may include a ‘Planning Contravention Notice’. This will ask you questions about the suspected breach of planning regulations such as the date of construction; and what it is being used for. If you don’t reply or don’t tell the truth, sanctions including fines and putting the property back in its original state, can follow.

Retrospective Planning Applications

Should the local council investigate, and the breach of planning be confirmed, it is advisable to apply for a retrospective planning application, particularly where a planning application has been refused. If this is approved, no further action will be taken. It is unlikely that they will suggest this if they do not consider that retrospective planning permission will be granted, however this is only determined on a case by case and council by council basis. Whilst your retrospective application is in place, enforcement action should be postponed.

Planning Enforcement Notice details

This Planning Enforcement Notice will ask that you take certain action such as alter or remove a building; reinstate a demolished building; or cease activity due to not having planning permission. Certain time limits apply to these enforcement notices. Construction/alterations of a building or change of use to a house have a 4-year window and all other breaches 10 years.

Value Adding Approach

Our approach to legal practice is always to articulate creative and value-adding solutions for clients whilst delivering timely, efficient and affordable professional services. All clients conduct their affairs within a legal context and Mercantile Barristers’ role is to advise on the conduct of their transactions and affairs in ways that avoid conflict and disputes.


However, should a dispute become inevitable, then our prior engagement would have assured that all the necessary precautions have been taken and mitigating steps adopted. Thus, clients will begin any dispute resolution in a strong position to achieve their desired objectives.


Whether by adjudication, arbitration, litigation, members at Mercantile Barristers will adopt a firm, swift and decisive approach to achieve the best possible results for clients within the shortest possible time. We recognise that no two cases are the same, so we will adapt our style to suit the occasion.


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