Analysis of Enforcement Notice Service and Appeal Rights in Drewey Ambrose Price & Anor v South Cambridgeshire District Council

Citation: [2024] EWHC 238 (Admin)
Judgment on


In the recent case of Drewey Ambrose Price & Anor v South Cambridgeshire District Council [2024] EWHC 238 (Admin), several compelling issues concerning the proper service of an enforcement notice and the consequences of failing to facilitate an appeal were examined. This article analyses the judgment handed down by Deputy High Court Judge Karen Ridge, focusing on the key topics discussed and the legal principles applied with respect to the service of notices under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990).

Key Facts

The central issue in this case concerns an enforcement notice served by the South Cambridgeshire District Council, related to land operated as a caravan site. The Claimants, who are the registered owners and occupants of the land, challenged both the initial service of the notice—allegedly not received by them until a significant date after issuance—and the Council’s refusal to withdraw the notice following the Claimants’ request. Upon discovering that the enforcement notice was served without their knowledge, the Claimants sought to assert their right to appeal, which had been compromised due to the elapsed time. The case examines whether the Defendant’s decision not to withdraw the notice was procedurally fair and rational.

The legal principles in this case centre around two main areas of the TCPA 1990: Section 172’s provision for issuing an enforcement notice and Section 329 concerning the service of such notices.

Service under Section 329 TCPA 1990

A key focal point of the judgment is whether the enforcement notice issued on 23 December 2022 was served in accordance with Section 329 of TCPA 1990. The statute requires that a notice be either personally delivered or left at the individual’s usual or last known place of abode or address provided for service. Alternatively, Section 329(2) allows for service of notice by affixing it “conspicuously to some object on those premises” when the person’s name cannot be ascertained after reasonable inquiry. The Claimants argued the notice did not come to their attention, thus rendering it unserved under the statutory parameters. The court found that merely affixing copies of the notices in envelopes to a general access gate did not align with the intended procedural standards and is arguably not lawful service.

Adequate Alternative Remedy and Timeliness

Another legal aspect considered was the availability of an adequate alternative remedy through appeal to the Secretary of State under Section 174(2)(e) TCPA 1990. Moreover, concerns regarding the timeliness of the judicial review claim arisen—judicial reviews relating to planning matters must be brought within six weeks from when the grounds for the claim first materialized—were addressed (CPR 54.5(5)). The Claimants contended that the timing for them to become cognizant of the notice determined when the claim arose.


The court deemed two grounds as arguable: The possible inadequacy of service (Ground 1) and the rationality and fairness of the decision not to withdraw the notice (Ground 2). The court did not settle the matter regarding the timeliness of the application, as a favorable ruling on Ground 1 would more or less render that concern moot, at least until the substantive hearing.


In Drewey Ambrose Price & Anor v South Cambridgeshire District Council, the court underlined the criticality of conforming to statutory provisions for service of enforcement notices. Furthermore, the Defendant’s refusal to withdraw a potentially unserved notice raises substantial questions of procedural fairness and rationality. The implications reassert the importance of local authorities following due process in serving notices and being considerate of appellants’ statutory rights, especially in matters involving potential breaches of planning control.