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What is the 4 Year Rule in Planning Enforcement?

The ‘4 year rule' is a term used within town planning, particularly within the planning enforcement specialism, regarding whether enforcement action can be taken against certain types of development (that require planning permission) carried out in breach of planning control. As the name of the rule implies, enforcement action cannot* be taken once 4 years years has passed following substantial completion of these certain types of development. This is different to the 10 year rule which refers to a change of use.

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