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Planning enforcement

Common breaches of planning control

  • A building is erected, extended or altered without planning permission.
  • Work is carried out which does not comply with approved plans.
  • A condition imposed on a planning permission is not complied with.
  • An unauthorised change of use of a building or land, such as the use of a residential property for business use.

Alterations to historic buildings, display of signs, works to protected trees and untidy land may also result in breaches of planning-related legislation.

If individuals carry out unauthorised works, for example where there has been an irretrievable loss of historic buildings, valuable protected trees, or there is continued non-compliance after formal action, the person responsible may be prosecuted.

Who deals with enforcement?

The local authority have a dedicated enforcement team whose job it is to deal with enquiries about breaches and resolve cases through formal and informal enforcement action as necessary. 

The enforcement team deals with around 2,400 enquiries countywide every year. For more information please read the 'Guide to planning enforcement' leaflet in the downloads sidebar. 

Making an enquiry

If you feel a breach has occurred and would like the enforcement team to investigate, please complete the e-form below or download and submit the 'Enforcement complaint form' in the sidebar. 

In your complaint please include as much of the following as possible: 

  • When activities started 
  • Site address
  • Approximate dimensions of any building works
  • Names, addresses and telephone numbers of any owners, occupiers or builders involved
  • Details of any amenity problems caused such as noise or traffic smells
  • In the case of possible unauthorised use, the frequency of the activity and the hours of operation
  • Your details are required so the team can inform you of the outcome of the enquiry, and in case they need to ask you for further information later. Enquiries about alleged breaches of planning control will be treated confidentially within the council so far as is practicable.
  • Your personal details are required so the team can inform you of the outcome and request any further information from you as necessary. You're submission about alleged breaches will be treated as confidential within the council as so far is possible. 

When an alleged breach is reported or suspected, the site will be inspected and relevant information will be sought to identify whether there is a breach. If a breach is identified, the person responsible will be informed of the issue and what action is required. Unless there is serious and immediate ongoing harm to the environment, highway safety or neighbours, the person responsible will be given an opportunity resolve the breach before commencement of formal action.

Formal enforcement action can be a lengthy process. In the event that we do issue a formal notice, the person responsible is given time to comply. They can also appeal to the Planning Inspectorate who can suspend the action. If the appeal is upheld, further time is allowed for compliance.

The team aims to keep you updated on the progress of your enquiry at key stages during the process.

For more information, please see our adopted 'Planning Enforcement Strategy' in the downloads sidebar. 

Planning enforcement complaint form

Please use this form to report suspected breaches of planning permission.

Your details

Details of the breach

If it is a breach of planning permission, please provide the application number
Please provide a description of the location of the property/land if it is remotely located in the countryside.
Please describe the alleged breach in as much detail as possible. For extensions, please include the position. If the complaint relates to a departure from approved plans, please specify how.
Please specify if this is a listed building or not.
If yes, please include the listed building grade
Please include the grid reference of the breach
How long has the alleged breach been occurring?
Do you know who is responsible for the alleged breach?
If the address of the person above is different from the address of the alleged breach, please provide the address of the person responsible.

Confirmation

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Last updated: 2 March 2017 | Last reviewed: 2 March 2017