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Enforcement of planning control

We are responsible for dealing with breaches of planning control. In most cases the decision whether to take action is up to us.

Each case will be individually assessed to determine what harm is being caused and the appropriate action.

Carrying out work or changing the use of land or buildings without planning permission is not a criminal offence.

It is a criminal offence to:

  •  fail to comply with an enforcement notice
  •  to do unauthorised works to a listed building or protected trees
  •  to display advertisements without consent

Whose side are the council on?

We remain totally impartial and our decisions must be in the interest of the general public and not to support the private interests of a developer, or of an objector.

All forms of enforcement action can be challenged on appeal, or by defence in the courts.

When do the council not take action?

We do not investigate:

  • neighbour disputes
  • boundary/land ownership
  • private disputes

Enforcement policy

 We are committed to the following principles of good enforcement:

  • clear standards
  • openness
  • helpfulness
  • proportionality
  • consistency

Reporting a breach

We rely on your local knowledge to find out about planning breaches. 

When you report a breach, it is useful to supply as much information as possible, ideally in writing.

You should supply the following information:

  • the address and location of the site
  • when the activities started and whether they are continuing
  • the type and approximate dimensions of any new building works
  • names and addresses of any person involved

Making a complaint

To make a complaint please complete a Complaints form (PDF/363KB/1 page) or Complaints form (Word Doc/14.2KB/1 page)

Please return using contact details below. 

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 be taken

Confidentiality

We will treat your complaint in confidence. However if the case goes to appeal or court then we may have to reveal the name of the complainant.

Enforcement priorities

We will respond within two working days to any matter that involves:

  • significant alterations/extensions to domestic buildings
  • variations to planning permissions that affect the character of an area
  • commencement of building works

We will respond within 10 working days to any matter that involves:

  • changes of use contrary to council policy
  • breaches of planning conditions
  • advertisements on listed buildings or within conservation areas
  • illuminated advertisements
  • advertisements that affect highway safety

We will respond within 20 working days, or as resources permit to matters involving:

  • roadside advertisements
  • advertisements on public land/buildings
  • domestic structures, for example sheds/greenhouses, fences and satellite dishes (except on listed buildings)

Enforcement register

We publish a summary of the Enforcement Notices and Breach of Condition Notices that the Council has served since 2002