S215 Notices


Happy New Year all!

In my return to work, I have been advised that S215 enforcement powers are being devolved to frontline officer level (through delegated powers), which i'm very happy about. 

I have the ODPM best practice guide to go through, but I am curious if any other LAs allow the empty homes officer to issue S215 notices against empty properties? If so, do you have any policies/procedures/process maps for issuing S215 notices that you would be willing to share with me? Do you have any template/copies of notices & schedules of work that you use?

Any other help / advice on issuing S215 notices on empty properties would be great!

Many thanks

Sally Nelson

Swindon Borough Council


Other enforcement

We use s215 notices on a regular basis.

A model notice is contained within the guidance booklet.

Sue Li

Compulsory Purchase and Enforcement Officer

Derby City Council


We have had delegated powers to use Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 here in Liverpool for many years now and we use this legislation on a regular basis.

I am currently updating our process but happy to discuss our processes with you.  Please feel free to contact me using my contact details below


Terry Curnow I Principal Officer
Vacant Property Team I Housing & Development I

Liverpool City Council I 4th Floor I Cunard Building I Water Street I Liverpool I L3 1AH
T: 0151 233 5208 I E: terry.curnow@liverpool.gov.uk
Postal address:
Liverpool City Council I Cunard Building I Water Street I Liverpool I L3 1AH

Terry Curnow

Liverpool City Council

Hello Sally

I have served section 215 notices.

I would suggest that looking at the grounds of appeal are a good place to start with as making sure that you have covered these will minimise the risk of appeal.

The schedule should be clear and unambiguous. Depending on the site there could be several ways to prevent the land or property from having a detrimental impact on the amenity of an area. For example there may be an existing planning permission that they have not implemented :

1. Complete X works (eg build a fence to block a view or repair a building) OR

2. Complete the development of the site in accordance with planning permission Y OR

3. Complete an alternative scheme of works to be approved by the Council in writing prior to commencement of works.

The timescale (one of the grounds of appeal) should be relatively generous but reasonable – there are no health and safety issues, unlike other legislation EHOs are used to serving! You need to remember that what you are asking for may need them to obtain complex quotes/employ contractors/ comply with statutory timescales such as permission for works in a conservation area, demolitions, Building Regs etc.

Have you determined if you are going to prosecute or default if they do not comply with the notice?

You should consider if it is the most appropriate enforcement to use in the circumstances - for example some legislation makes provision for future maintenance this doesnt.

Have a look at case law - Kensington Square conservation area case the High Court quashed the notice the judge ruled using 215 “to deal with questions of aesthetics, as opposed to disrepair or dilapidation, falls outside the intention and spirit of the planning code”.

Berg v Salford - Court confirmed that works of improvement can be specified on notice as well as just maintenance. •Court did not require the property to be obviously separate from the other properties in the immediate area ie it does not have to be significantly worse than other properties in a run down area.

With every site being different you should sit down with your legal team to formulate a template that meets your needs and determine how you are going to address the grounds of appeal to minimise your risk.



Elizabeth Green