What happens if you refuse to apply for retrospective planning?

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Our neighbour's have been told they need to apply for retrospective planning for a large outbuilding which is really impacting on the enjoyment of our home. They are dragging their heels and keep fobbing off the planning officer, it is almost a year since we made the original complaint. What happens next? If they refuse to apply and four years passes does that mean the building can stay as it is?

Appreciate any advice, thank you!
 
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It depends if the retrospective PP is marginal. They could just sit on their hands and wait for enforcement, and if it is marginal, the council may not deem it worth it. Why does it need PP? too big?tall?close to boundary?
 
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It is 4.5 meters at it's highest point and 50 cm from our boundary, with a footprint of 25 sq meters...
 
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There is no obligation on the council to enforce planning breaches. However there may be 'maladministration' if they do not.

The period of time allowed for enforcement can be 4, 10 or unlimited, depending on the breach. The time runs from when the council first became aware of the breach, and the period is to begin enforcement not complete it.
 
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If they refuse to apply then the planning team should make there own determination on whether they would of permitted it if the neighbour had applied, if they decide they wouldn't grant planning permission then they would need to determine if enforcement is appropriate.
 
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Sorry very late to post this but if you can let me know your thoughts...
 
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