Planning enforcement and breaches

Breaching of planning control

A breach of planning control can occur when:

  • work that requires planning permission has been undertaken but that permission has not been obtained or it has been refused
  • conditions attached to planning permission have not been complied with
  • advertisements have been installed without obtaining express permission
  • unauthorised work has been done to protected trees
  • unauthorised work has been done to listed buildings

Why planning enforcement is important

We expect land owners and developers to comply with planning legislation and not carry out development until the necessary planning permission has been obtained.

If development were allowed to occur unchecked without planning control (enforcement) then in effect anything could be built without due regard to the amenity of residents or the importance of significant buildings and trees in any location.

What the local planning authority can do if there is a breach of planning control

If development takes place without permission we have a range of powers available to establish whether a breach of planning control has taken place, including the issue of a planning contravention notice.

We will examine any harm caused by the breach and determine any appropriate action to remedy that harm. We may issue an enforcement notice.

Our approach to planning enforcement is set out in our local enforcement plan.

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Planning contravention notices

A planning contravention notice is a formal request for further information relating to a breach of planning control.

If you receive one, you should respond within 21 days of the date of issue. It is a prosecutable offence not to respond to a planning contravention notice.

Enforcement notices

The local planning authority can issue an enforcement notice to the occupier, owner and all other parties with an interest in the land if it appears that there has been a breach of planning control.

The enforcement notice sets out what action is required to remedy the breach and the timeframe by which compliance should be achieved.

What to do if you receive a letter of enforcement

You should contact the case officer, stated within any correspondence, within the specified timeframe. If you require clarification on any issues contained within the letter the case officer will be able to explain these.

You should read the requirements of any enforcement notice and make sure that they are complied with within the timeframe stated. Failure to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence and you may be prosecuted.

If you do not agree with the enforcement notice, you can make an appeal. The notice explains how to do this.

Request confirmation of compliance with an enforcement notice

It can be useful to have a letter of confirmation of compliance when you come to sell your property. If you would like a letter of compliance please fill in our form.

There is fee of £190.

Request confirmation of compliance with planning enforcement notice

What to do if you see work that you think is in breach of planning regulations

If you wish to complain about work that you think is in breach of planning regulations you can use our complaint form to tell us. Any complaint will be treated as confidential. Please note that anonymous complaints will not be investigated.

Make a planning enforcement complaint

Out-of-hours arrangements for bank holiday weekends

We have arrangements in place to make sure that we can take action over extended weekends to deal with those who deliberately seek to exploit such times to carry out unauthorised developments.

If you are aware of activities such as building demolition, felling of protected trees or installation of mobile homes, which you believe do not have planning permission or tree preservation order consent, please contact Forestcare on 01344 786500.

Where to find enforcement documents

Enforcement investigations against land or property are included on our online planning register. You can search for them by street name, by enforcement case reference number, by date or by postcode.

Visit the online planning register

Please note that apart from enforcement notices and enforcement notice appeals, all other documents relating to planning enforcement matters are confidential and cannot be viewed.

Contact information

Planning Team