Planning Enforcement

It is an applicant’s or individual’s responsibility to ensure that development carried out has either got planning permission (if required) or that it takes place in accordance with approved details and complies with any conditions, which may have been attached to the grant of a planning permission.

Neighbours or members of the public may bring potential breaches of planning control to the attention of the Local Planning Authority.  Planning laws are designed to control the development of land and buildings in the public interest and they are not meant to protect the interests of one person against the activities of another. 

All complaints about potential breaches of planning control have to be made in writing and state the alleged contravention and also give the complainants name and postal address.  All complaints will be acknowledged but the Local Planning Authority will then have to decide whether enforcement action is justified.  This will be assessed following a site visit, which will normally take place within 20 working days of receiving the complaint.

Please complete the online form to Report a Breach of Planning Control. All details will be kept in confidence by the investigating officer.

Service Standard

All complaints about alleged unauthorised development must be made in writing.  All letters and emails will be acknowledged and the site would normally be visited within 20 working days of receiving the complaint.

Where harm resulting from unauthorised development is identified, the Council will take firm action although we are not able to consider possible changes in property values, loss of business due to increased competition, loss of view, or private rights such as land ownership.  There may be some cases where enforcement action would serve no useful purpose, particularly if unconditional planning permission would have been granted for the development.  In these cases the Council will invite an application for retrospective planning permission so the development can be authorised.  Whichever way it is decided to deal with the matter, the complainant will be told the outcome of the Council’s investigations and actions.

The Council will advise all complainants about the outcome of the investigations and also whether the matter will result in formal enforcement action, or not.  Reasons will be given if enforcement action is not to be taken.

The confidentiality of all complainants will be respected, but it is important to understand that your evidence may be needed to allow us to take effective enforcement action.  Complainants should therefore be prepared to identify themselves so that their complaint can be investigated.  It is often not possible to fully and effectively investigate and enforce a range of complaints due to lack of witness evidence.

If a person is contacted about an alleged breach of planning control they are entitled to know what the allegation is (but not who made it), and also to have the opportunity to explain their side of the case.  They will be told of the details of the breach, the reason for any potential action, the steps required to resolve the problem and the time period for compliance.