Homeowners who build extensions in Birmingham and businesses who change their properties without permission face increased charges for planning applications.
The warning has come from Birmingham City Council’s planning department which is fed up with developers lodging retrospective planning applications only after the legal enforcement action has started.
Some homeowners whose extensions have been ruled to be too unsightly or overlooking a neighbour have been told to tear them down or face court action.
In August one resident was threatened with jail over non-payment of fines relating to an unregulated extension.
Other small businesses do not realise they need permission to change their opening hours or, for example, convert from say a shop to a takeaway.
A crackdown on unregulated development has seen dozens of retrospective applications coming before the planning committee in recent weeks.
The most recent meeting saw seven considered.
Planning committee chairman Peter Douglas Osborn said: “The Government is bringing in new rules which will allows to place a surcharge on retrospective applications to cover the added costs of enforcement.
“So from next year it will cost substantially more and pay people to get their applications in before building.”
He said that the crackdown had seen developers and homeowners taken to court, including one resident who had been threatened with jail over non-payment of fines.
“There are a number of people who think that planning rules do not apply to them and we are sending out a message that they do,” he added.
* The retrospective plans considered included:
a two-storey extension to 81 Grove Road in Kings Heath,
change of use of 842 Alum Rock Road from a shop to a restaurant,
the change of 89 Tindal Street in Balsall Heath from an industrial unit to a religious community centre,
the change of a warehouse at 34-36 Parliament Street in Small Heath into a children’s play centre,
the conversion of a former shop at 406 Bordesley Green Road into a religious education centre,
and change of 299 Sommerville Road, Small Heath from a hairdressers to a mosque.
Of these only the Alum Rock Road application was refused.