Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
The Department will monitor planning decisions and particularly those conditions which enable permission to be granted; for example, occupancy, replacement or landscaping conditions. Enforcement action may be taken to ensure that planning conditions are complied with.
Regrettably there are occasions when development is carried out without the benefit of planning permission. It is therefore important that the Department has recourse to efficient and effective enforcement procedures to deal with breaches of planning control. In each case of unauthorised development it is for the Department to consider whether it is expedient to serve an Enforcement Notice or not. An Enforcement Notice will specify the steps required to remedy the breach of planning control and failure to comply with these is an offence and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine. It should be noted, however, that in practice most breaches are resolved, by co-operation, without the need for formal action.
Development Control powers alone cannot secure implementation of the Strategy. For example, the Department can control the design and layout of a building, although it cannot ensure that it is actually built or occupied. The Department may control the change of use of premises, but it cannot stop an existing business from closing down. It can however ensure, through the operation and enforcement of its development control policies, that there is a balance between development and conservation.