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Planning enforcement

Important - changes to planning enforcement

Due to an extremely high volume of work, we are making some changes to how quickly we respond to planning enforcement complaints and enquiries. For the foreseeable future, the timescales listed in paragraphs 2.9 and 2.10 of our planning enforcement manual will not apply. We are still committed to taking enforcement action against planning breaches. We will be prioritising cases and dealing with enforcement matters as quickly as possible.

The Planning Enforcement team investigates suspected breaches of planning control and unauthorised development. However, not all development or works require planning permission. Residents, businesses, statutory undertakers and others can undertake certain works without the need to gain the approval of the Local Planning Authority.

The following is aimed at giving you a broad understanding of planning control and how to make a complaint should you have a concern about a planning related matter which affects you.

What can and cannot be reported

What is a breach of Planning Control?


Examples include:

  • Where land or buildings are developed, including the change of use of land or buildings without the appropriate planning permission (should planning permission be required)
  • Where planning permission has been granted but the development does not comply with that permission
  • Where works are carried out to a listed building without listed building consent.
  • Where a building is demolished in a conservation area without consent
  • Where signs or advertisements requiring advertisement consent are displayed without that consent
  • Felling of or works to a tree(s) covered by a Tree Preservation Order or those within a conservation area, without the necessary consent

Most breaches of planning control are not criminal offences. However, in the following cases criminal offences may be committed:

  • Carrying out unauthorised works to a listed building
  • Displaying certain advertisements without consent
  • Unauthorised works to protected trees

What is not a breach of Planning Control?

  • Neighbour disputes
  • Boundary or land ownership disputes
  • Works to party walls (shared walls between attached buildings)
  • Fly-tipping
  • Development on highways or pavements
  • Dangerous structures
  • Restrictions imposed by deeds of covenant
  • Vehicles causing an obstruction on the highway

How to report a suspected breach of Planning Control

If you think there's been a breach of planning legislation, you can report a suspected breach using the online form.

To help us deal with your complaint you should provide us with as much information as possible including:

  1. Your name address and telephone number.
  2. The address of the site or location where the breach has occurred.
    Please note: we require a full address including house number. If the breach relates to a piece of land, we need an exact location, such as "behind number 2 Main Street", or "at the junction of road X and Y". We will not be able to investigate the breach if we are unable to identify the location, so please give as much detail as possible.
  3. The landowner or occupier's name and contact details if you know them.
  4. A description of the alleged breach.
  5. What harm the breach is causing.
  6. The date you became aware of the breach.

We will not normally investigate anonymous complaints unless it appears to us that a serious breach is occurring.

All complaints are treated as confidential and your personal details will never be disclosed to third parties without your consent.

To assist with how we operate the planning enforcement role of the Local Planning Authority, and make clear what people should be able to expect, more information regarding how complaints are investigated can be found in our planning enforcement manual.

If you believe there's been a violation of a planning condition, or that any unauthorised development has taken place, you can make a confidential complaint. You can contact us by calling 01642 729377 or emailing