About planning enforcement


Please note that we are experiencing high volumes of work which is causing delays to our response times. We are working hard to address this and thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

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 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. Our officers are obliged to investigate all of these. 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.

Planning Enforcement Plan

We have published the Planning Enforcement Plan.  It provides guidance for businesses, planning professionals and the public.  It sets out the aims, standards and values applied by our planning enforcement team.

Its aim is to create the right balance between advice, assistance and enforcement to:

  • allow good development and
  • discourage unacceptable unauthorised activity.

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

Need help?

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