What is planning enforcement?
Planning enforcement is about ensuring that the national planning legislation is administered on site and that no unauthorised works or breaches of planning law occur.
Breaches of planning control usually take one of the following forms:
- 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 a historic building, valuable protected trees, or there is continued non-compliance after formal action, the person responsible may be prosecuted.
Searching for enforcement notices
You can check for enforcement notices issued within the south area using our enforcement search online.
Who deals with enforcement?
We have a dedicated enforcement team. Their job is to deal with enquiries about breaches of planning and other controls, and seek to resolve such breaches through informal and formal enforcement action where necessary.
The enforcement team deals with around 2,400 enquiries every year, county-wide. More information can be found in the a guide to planning enforcement leaflet 980kb.
Making an enquiry
If you feel a breach has occurred and would like the enforcement team to investigate, please complete our online planning enforcement complaint form, or download and complete the enforcement enquiry form enforcement enquiry form 92kb
You will need to include as much information as possible, for example:
- 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.
What happens next?
When an alleged breach is reported or suspected, the site will be inspected and other information sought to find out the facts.
If a breach is identified the person responsible will be told what is wrong and what action is required. In the majority of cases unless there is serious and immediate ongoing harm to the environment, highway safety or neighbours, the person responsible will be given an opportunity to put matters right before the commencement of formal action.
Formal enforcement action can be a lengthy process. In the event that we issue a formal notice, the person responsible has to be given a time to comply. The person responsible can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, which suspends the effect of the action. If the appeal is upheld, further time has to be 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, see our adopted Planning Enforcement Strategy planning enforcement strategy 909kb.
Last updated: 3 February 2016