Dartmoor National Park covers an area of 368 square miles and is the largest expanse of open country in the south of England. National Parks have the highest status of legal protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty.
Dartmoor National Park Authority ("the Authority") has a legal duty to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Park and to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park by the public. The Authority, acting through its Development Management Committee, is also the sole local planning authority for Dartmoor.
Enforcement of Planning Control
The proper application and observance of planning control is vital to safeguarding the quality of landscape and buildings in the National Park. Effective enforcement maintains the integrity of the planning application and permission decision making process.
This Enforcement Policy aims to provide a clear statement of the Authority's approach to enforcing planning control in the National Park.
There are two main ways in which a breach of planning control can occur:
- Building or engineering operations, or changes in the use of land or buildings, that are carried out without the necessary planning permission.
- Where planning permission has been granted but the approved plans and/or the conditions attached to the approval have not been followed properly.
The Authority's Approach to Enforcement
In investigating and dealing with apparent breaches of planning control, the Authority has to exercise a careful balance between the rights of the individuals concerned and the wider public interest. When dealing with enforcement complaints the Authority will:
- investigate to establish the facts and a full picture of the situation
- adopt a positive approach and seek to negotiate an acceptable resolution without formal legal action wherever possible
- encourage the submission of a retrospective application to regularise unauthorised development, unless the development is contrary to the adopted policies of the National Park or causes serious harm to the landscape quality or buildings in the National Park
- where necessary, use formal enforcement powers to secure the removal or cessation of harmful unauthorised development
- seek to prevent breaches of planning control, through pro-active monitoring of selected developments to ensure that conditions and approved drawings are complied with
- maintain a proportionate and balanced approach to unauthorised development
The Development Management Committee has delegated to the Head of Planning its powers to take legal action and to close enforcement cases. Enforcement matters will normally only be referred to the Development Management Committee for consideration where legal action would prevent a person residing in or on premises or significantly affect their ability to do so, or would prevent or significantly affect the operation of a business, employment site or community use.
The Head of Planning, and any other staff expressly authorised in writing, can determine to close enforcement cases where, in their view:
(a) there is no breach of planning control
(b) any breach is immune from enforcement action, or
(c) it is not expedient in the wider public interest to take enforcement action
The Authority has published an Enforcement Protocol which gives detailed information on how we carry out our work, including keeping complainants and the public informed. In addition this Protocol also contains links to government guidance relating to the enforcement of planning control.
If you believe that we have not followed this Policy, please write to the Head of Planning at Parke, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot TQ13 9JQ setting out the details.