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Untidy Land Notices (Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act)

Information on untidy land, what remedies the Local Planning Authority has, and a copy of the best practice guidance.

From a community point of view, tidy gardens and land mean an area looks well cared for which makes people feel safe in that neighbourhood. If untidy sites are left, they become worse and the area starts to feel neglected and unsafe. Untidy sites are rarely dangerous to public health but they will be an eyesore, which means it is detrimental to the local amenity.

The council can serve an ‘amenity’ notice on the owner of any land or building which is in an unreasonably untidy condition and we consider has an adverse affect on the amenity of the area. This is done under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).

This notice is used to maintain and improve the quality of the environment, to assist in tackling dereliction and retaining land in a productive use as well as contribute to the regeneration of an area and respond positively to public concerns.

Many of the problems of untidy land and buildings are relatively easy to put right for example:

  1. blocked gutters and down pipes - water ingress will eventually destroy a building through frost and rot,
  2. fallen fences,
  3. dilapidated walls / broken windows / graffiti,
  4. land with fly tipping, industrial or demolition waste,
  5. builders rubble,
  6. dumped sofas/furniture,
  7. abandoned vehicles,
  8. dumped tyres or
  9. overgrown gardens.

A notice can be served on the owner or occupier of any private land or building which is in an unreasonably untidy condition and which the Council consider has an adverse affect on the amenity of the area.

The Notice will specify what needs to be done to correct the situation within a given timescale. It is an offence not to comply with the notice within the specified period. If the requirements of the notice are not carried out in the required timescale the landowner could be fined and have a criminal record.

There is a right of appeal against a notice issued under this section to the Magistrates Court. Failure to comply with the requirements of the notice constitutes a criminal offence subject on conviction to a fine not exceeding £1000.

The Council is also empowered to enter land to carry out the works specified in the notice and reclaim costs from the land owner – usually by means of a land charge on the land or property.

Central Government has produced a Best Practice guide on section 215 notices which can be downloaded below.

Section 215 Notices - Best Practice Guidance (PDF Document, 508.82 Kb)

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