What is Planning Enforcement ?
Sometimes development is carried out without planning
permission or without following the detailed plans approved by the
Council. This could involve the unauthorised erection or
extension of a building, or an unauthorised change of use of a
building or land. Cases such as these can cause serious harm
to the environment in which people live.
When should the Council take action?
Parliament has given responsibility for dealing with breaches of
planning control to the Local Authorities. In most cases, the
decision whether or not to take action rests with the District
Carrying out work or changing the use of the land or buildings
without planning permission is not a criminal offence. Each
case will be individually assessed to determine what harm is being
caused and what action would be appropriate.
It is, however, a criminal offence to fail to comply with an
Enforcement Notice; to do unauthorised works to a listed building
or protected trees; or to display advertisements without
Whose side are the Council on?
The Council must be careful to remain totally impartial in
such cases. The decisions it makes must be shown to be in
the interest of the general public and not to support the
private interests of a developer, or of a objector. All
forms of enforcement action can be challenged on appeal, or by
defence in the courts, and the Council can face costs against
it when it's not proven the case properly.
When do the Council not take action?
The District Council does not investigate:
- neighbour disputes;
- boundary / land ownership;
- private disputes.
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The Council has adopted the Central and Local Government
Concordant on Good
. We are committed to the following principles
of good enforcement:
- clear standards;
Reporting a Breach - How you can help!
The Council depends on your local
knowledge. When you first approach the Council with a
possible breach, it would be useful to supply as much information
as possible. Ideally this should be in writing. The
following is a brief list of the type of information required:
- The address and location of the site.
- When the activities started and whether they are
- The type and approximate dimensions of any new building
- Names and addresses of any person involved.
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Making a complaint
If you want to inform us about a possible
breach of planning control you can contact the enforcement team
in 2 ways:
1. Email: email@example.com
2. In writing:
Development Management Group Manager
South Lakeland District Council
South Lakeland House
Cumbria LA9 4DL
Complaints can also be directed to us through
your Town, Parish or District Councillor.
What happens after I have made my Complaint?
Every complaint is recorded.
An initial site visit will be made.
After the site visit, where appropriate
we will inform you of what action can or cannot be taken.
In all cases the District Council will treat
your complaint in confidence. On receipt of any complaint,
complainants will be advised that if the case eventually proceeds
to an appeal or court then the District Council may have to reveal
the name of the complainant.
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- What are our priorities?
Response within two working
Any matter that involves building
- significant alterations/extensions to domestic buildings;
- variations to planning permissions that affect the character of
- commencement of building works.
- changes of use contrary to Council Policy;
- breaches of planning conditions;
- advertisements on Listed Buildings or within Conservation
- illuminated advertisements;
- non-illuminated advertisements that affect highway safety.
Response within twenty working days/as
- roadside advertisements;
- advertisements on public land/buildings;
- domestic structures e.g. sheds/greenhouses, fences and
satellite dishes except on Listed Buildings.
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In accordance with the requirements of Section 188 of
the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.