Completion Notices (S94 of Town & County Planning Act, 1991)

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR)


The report was commissioned by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) as part of the government’s Modernising Planning agenda, and its aim of helping local authorities to make best use of all available land in their areas.

A mechanism to deal with the problem of uncompleted development was provided by Completion Notice procedure, of ss.94-96 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which enabled local authorities to serve notice on land owners or occupiers, where approved development had started but remained uncompleted for a substantial period.

The procedure was not widely used, so the project assessed the effectiveness of the procedure, and potential in helping local authorities to make optimal use of land. The research included a literature review of legal reports on the system's origin and purpose, a questionnaire to all local planning authorities to established its level of use, and studies of specific cases where completion notices had been served.  The research concluded that, despite its limited use, the procedure still formed an important power in the management of development and should be retained.

Additional Information

With Stephen Crow, Neil Harris and Chris Yewlett, 2000.