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In a stark reminder of the strength of the powers available to local authorities if developments do not comply with planning permission, a developer in Woolwich, London, has been ordered to demolish two apartment blocks because they do not comply with the approved plans.

Why must the Woolwich apartment blocks be demolished?

Greenwich Council has served an enforcement notice on Comer Homes Group requiring demolition of two apartment blocks housing 204 apartments because it considers that the variations between the approved plans and the built development are so substantial that the buildings should be demolished in their entirety.

There are at least 26 variations between the plans and the built development, including a larger than approved footprint, different cladding, less glazing, smaller balconies, smaller windows, a failure to provide roof gardens or children's play areas, and the inclusion of steps to balconies in what should have been accessible apartments.

Whilst enforcement action by local authorities for failure to comply with approved plans (or for other planning breaches such as unauthorised changes of use) is by no means unusual, the enforcement notice served by Greenwich Council is notable because of the scale of the development required to be demolished, and the fact that the residents who are already living in the apartments will need to be rehomed.

The developer now has a few weeks within which to decide whether to submit an appeal in respect of the notice. Appeals are submitted to, and determined by, the Planning Inspectorate, and can be lodged on a variety of grounds, including that planning permission should be granted for the unauthorised works.

If the enforcement notice is not appealed (or if an appeal is dismissed), the notice will come into effect and the developer will have 12 months to demolish the buildings and restore the land to its former condition. It will be a criminal offence for the developer to fail to comply with the requirements of the notice.

You can learn more about the decision by clicking here.

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If you require specialist advice in respect of enforcement and other planning issues, our team has a wealth of experience and can provide comprehensive advice.

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Key Contact

Mark Turner

Mark Turner

Planning, Environmental, Energy and Regulatory Partner

Mark advises clients on a wide range of planning matters including applications and appeals, Certificates of Lawfulness, High Court challenges and Judicial Reviews, and enforcement.

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