some drawings and send them in. Also
think carefully about what you want. Do
you really need everything you have or can
you consolidate? If so, now maybe the time
to plan to do so (but only after you have
established a base position).
Once you have a position, write to the
Enforcement Officer to explain what you think
doesn’t need permission and why. Or make
an appointment to have a pre-application
discussion with a Planning Officer (most
councils charge for this). Some councils
will be happy to deal with these issues in
correspondence, others may require a formal
Lawful Development Certificate application.
Once you have established a base position
then you may need to make a planning
application for further aerials, or for ones
that you have up and that need permission.
There’s good advice on the Planning
about that process.
be persuaded by the Enforcement
Officer to include in any planning application
aerials that are covered by the Four Year Rule
 or that otherwise do not need permission
(they may say ‘to tidy things up’). Remember
the PAC will help with advice as needed.
But please remember the golden rules:
• Don’t do anything in a panic – this
is a lengthy process and jumping up
and taking aerials down and making a
planning application at once is almost
certainly going to be counter productive.
• Don’t put your head in the sand and hope
it goes away – it won’t.
• Always maintain contact with the
Enforcement Officer, do what you say and
be cooperative (it’s better to have them on
your side as much as possible rather than
than against you).
• Don’t wait for an enforcement notice –
opportunities will have been lost if you do.
• Don’t seek to exact retribution for the
neighbour you suspect of ‘shopping’ you
– you may feel that they have done you all
the harm they can but (trust me) they have
several notches of causing trouble to go.
• Always have in mind that if permission
is needed and refused you still need to
be on the air. Which is why establishing
a permitted base point (see earlier) is so
It’s fair to say that most amateurs we help
achieve something close to what they want
as long as what they want is reasonable
given the size of house they own and the
size of the aerial. Getting there may not be
an easy journey – but taking it steadily and
following the rules will always help.
Why the Four Year Rule is your friend
Jan 2013 (see below)
At the Planning Advice Committee stand at the
2012 Newark Hamfest the point most raised was
the Four Year Rule. So it seemed to make sense
to do a short piece for
to set out what
the Four Year Rule is and how it may affect you.
Put simply, the rule works like this. You put up an
aerial, mast or whatever and leave it in place and
unchanged for four years (you can take it down for
short periods for maintenance). So long as you can
satisfactorily demonstrate this, the aerial, mast etc
will normally be immune from enforcement and
the Council cannot require you to remove it under
It follows from this that it is important to keep
evidence of the date on which you put the aerial
up. So always take some dated digital photos or
video and note in the log. Any other evidence you
can muster at this point – third party recollections
are helpful – may be useful later on. And then
carry on. Hopefully you’ll have many years of use
with no planning problems and all will be well. As
always, keeping on the best terms you can with
the neighbours is important.
is your friend
Consider talking to neighbours about your hobby.
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