About planning enforcement

Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.


During the COVID 19 pandemic we may not be fully investigating matters where significant harm cannot be demonstrated.  The Government have introduced new  legislation to allow certain temporary changes of use to take-aways.  We will also take a pragmatic approach to some developments which are undertaken purely to cope with the impact of COVID 19.  We will inform you of our intended course of action when triaging your complaint which is at step 2 of the process as set out in our planning enforcement flowchart.

Please be aware that there will be some delays in our response times which is unavoidable at the moment.  We are experiencing an increase in Covid-related staff absence and many of our staff are working hard to balance work and home schooling.  The Council is committed to supporting our staff to work flexibly to enable a balance to be reached which means our officers may be working different hours.

Please bear with us at this difficult time.  We are mindful of the personal pressures that a third lockdown places on us all and we respectfully ask that you are considerate when communicating with our staff.

Planning enforcement is the process where we:

  • investigate and
  • try to resolve

breaches of planning control.

If left unchallenged breaches can undermine the whole planning process. It is very important that effective enforcement is applied where needed.

Planning enforcement is still operating.  But we may not fully investigate matters where significant harm cannot be shown.  We will let you know what we intend to do.  Your complaint will be triaged.  The enforcement flowchart sets out our process.  We have a high number of enquiries at present. Please bear with us as it may take longer to respond.

The planning enforcement team receive around 2000 requests for service each year which officers are obliged to investigate. Approximately 45% of these cases are determined to be lawful.  They are permitted developments that do not require planning permission.  In these cases the Council cannot take action. Before you report an issue of concern, please find out what the Council can and cannot help you with.  

The enforcement flowchart sets out:

  • the stages that an enforcement investigation would follow
  • the type of work that is likely to be carried out at each stage
  • the average timescales to reach key stages. 

Please read these webpages in full before submitting a complaint.

What we will not investigate

What we will investigate

  • Building/engineering work carried out without the correct permission  
  • Unauthorised land use
  • Planning conditions not being complied with
  • Unauthorised changes in the use of land or buildings
  • Works being carried out to a listed building without permission
  • Unauthorised demolition on a conservation area
  • Unauthorised works to a protected tree
  • Unauthorised siting and use of a caravan
  • Land or buildings which have been neglected or are an eyesore

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