We can take enforcement action if we find there has been a breach of planning control.
When we will take enforcement action
A breach of planning control happens when a development has taken place without the required planning permission or when a development is not being carried out in accordance with any of the imposed planning conditions. It is defined further within the Town and Country Planning Act (Section 171).
Examples of planning breaches
Examples of planning breaches include:
- where something has been built without planning permission
- alterations made without planning permission
- when the use of land or a building has altered without permission
- works to listed buildings without consent
- installation of unauthorised advertisements
- works to trees protected by tree preservation orders or trees in conservation areas and rural agricultural hedgerows
- where conditions attached to planning approvals have not been complied with
- where limitations or conditions set out within the General Permitted Development Order have not been followed
- where the poor condition of land is impacting the visual amenities of the wider area
Issues that we cannot investigate
There are many issues which we cannot take action against under planning enforcement such as civil matters or issue covered by other departments in the Council.
You should seek your own legal advice for civil issues such as:
- neighbour disputes
- land boundaries
- deeds of covenant issues
- works to party walls
Report a breach of planning control
Before you submit a request for us to take planning enforcement action online, use our public access service to check the planning history of the premises you would like to report in case planning permission has been granted or there is a planning application pending.
How we carry out planning enforcement action
We have several options available to us which range from deciding that no further action is needed to seeking an injunction.
Our legal power to enter your land
We have the power to enter your land for enforcement purposes, if there are reasonable grounds to do so. For example, to investigate an alleged breach of planning control or to check whether you have complied with the requirement of previous planning enforcement action.
Limitations on planning enforcement
We cannot take enforcement action on unauthorised developments if the request happens more than:
- 4 years after the substantial completion for operational developments such as structural alterations or construction
- 4 years after an unauthorised change of use to a single dwelling
- 10 years after any of breach of planning control
These limits do not always apply. For example, if someone has deliberately concealed a breach of planning control, we can still take enforcement action even after the time limit has passed.