Taking enforcement action is discretionary and not all breaches of planning control will result in formal action being taken. Most cases are resolved through discussion and negotiation and without formal enforcement action being taken.
We will consider:
- if planning permission or consent is required, if no, there is no breach
- if yes, it is likely that a permission or consent would be granted in planning terms, an application is invited to rectify the breach
- if no, formal enforcement action will be taken where there is significant harm in planning terms.
What we can investigate:
- unauthorised building or engineering works
- unauthorised change of use of land or buildings
- non-compliance with a planning condition
- unauthorised works to a Listed Building
- unauthorised display of advertisements
- untidy land or property belonging to private owners
- unauthorised work to protected trees
- unauthorised works to trees within a Conservation Area
- unauthorised demolition within a Conservation Area
- unauthorised removal of a hedgerow.
What we cannot investigate:
- neighbour disputes
- dangerous structures (contact Building Control on 01952 384555)
- boundary disputes
- damage to private property
- breaches of property deeds or covenants
- matters relating to the Party Wall Act
- Health and Safety
- blocking of a designated rights of way (contact Rights of Way on 01952 384614)
- breaches occurring within or on a public highway (contact Highways on 01952 384701)
- noise disturbance or other pollution (contact Environmental Health on 01952 381818).
How long will it take?
Unfortunately not every breach of planning control can be resolved quickly. The enforcement officers must follow statutory procedures and some matters can take several months to resolve, particularly if an appeal is lodged against an Enforcement Notice. View our Planning Enforcement policy for timescales.
Planning Enforcement policy
The purpose of the Planning Enforcement policy is to explain the Council’s approach when dealing with planning enforcement matters to provide clarification and manage customer expectations in terms of likely outcomes and timescales. The pledges included in the policy will be monitored and reported upon monthly to ensure service standards are maintained.
All investigations are carried out on a strictly confidential basis and we will not reveal a complainant's details without their permission. With serious breaches of planning control, which warrant prosecution, or which result in an appeal, the complainant may be invited to give a witness statement if their evidence is considered crucial. Such involvement is on a voluntary basis. More information is available in our Planning Enforcement policy.