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Common enforcement enquiries - caravans, property, roads and nuisance


Caravan in the garden

A caravan was put in a garden of a residential property. It was used by the teenage son as a place to sit with his friends and listen to music.

Planning permission was not required because the caravan was not a building and was being used for purposes incidental to the main dwelling.

Caravan in the open countryside

A caravan has been placed in the middle of a field in the open countryside. The landowner is keeping five chickens and growing some vegetables. The landowner was living in the caravan. There is no special justification for the residential caravan to be on the site. The use of the caravan did not fall into a category that is allowed under planning policies.

An Enforcement Notice was served to require residential use to cease, and the caravan be removed from the land.

The landowner appealed the Notice. The appeal was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate. The enforcement notice was upheld.

The caravan was ordered to be removed within 12 months from the date of the appeal decision. If not, the Council would start prosecution proceedings. Failure to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence.


Construction on Sundays and early or late during the week

Normal working hours are typically from 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday (and 8 am to 1 pm on Saturdays) but can vary. If work is happening frequently outside these times you can report the issue to the Council's Environmental Protection team.

Noise, smell or light nuisance issues from a property

Planning Enforcement cannot get involved unless there is an unauthorised change of use or a breach of a planning condition. If a change of use has occurred, then the enforcement team can only investigate the change of use. We cannot investigate the nuisance.

You can report the issue to the Council's Environmental Protection team.

Planning permission check and property issues

Find out if planning permission has been granted for a development

If you know the address of where the works are being carried out or you can find it on a map, you can use our online planning register. The online planning register can tell you if there are any planning permissions which relate to the land or property.

You can also search for land or property with prior planning permission using our map search.

Ownership of a property or any plot of land, fence or wall

Cornwall Council does not keep this information. You can obtain deed and covenant information by requesting a service from the Land Registry. There may be a small charge for this service.

Restrictive covenants

A one-metre-high fence was erected at the front of a property where there is a restrictive covenant on the deeds of the property. The covenant stated that there must be no fencing in front gardens.

A restrictive covenant is a list of rules. They can be added to property deeds or contracts of sale by a developer or property management company when a property is sold.

Planning law does not control covenants. The fence is permitted development because it is below the maximum height allowed. Planning permission is not required.

Breaches of covenants are a civil matter and not a matter for the planning service. The complainant was advised to seek legal advice or speak to the Citizens Advice Bureau

Unauthorised works on a Listed Building

A new owner of a Listed Building removed the timber windows and replaced them with uPVC windows. They did not apply for listed building consent for the work.

The style of the windows did not preserve the character or appearance of the Listed Building. An enforcement notice was served. It required that the uPVC windows be removed and replaced with timber windows to match the originals.

Untidy properties eg graffiti, the garden is overgrown or filled with waste

Graffiti on private land or property is the responsibility of the landowner to remove. If you suspect that an overgrown or untidy garden is home to rats or mice, you can find more information on our pest control page.

If the condition of land or property is harmful to the character of the area, the planning enforcement team can investigate this. You can make a report on our report an alleged breach of planning control page.

Roads, access and parking

Dangerous access onto a busy road

New access was created onto a busy road. The access was causing highway safety issues. The landowner would not block up the access voluntarily. The Council served an enforcement notice requiring the access to be blocked.

Parking area to the front of the property

A parking area has been created at the front of the house. The property was not a listed building and was not in a conservation area.

Planning permission is not normally needed for a new drive of any size if it has a surface that allows water to drain through. This includes gravel or block paving with a sand base. Nor would you if the parking space directs rainwater to a border or lawn to allow it to drain naturally.

The new parking area exceeded five square metres in size but was constructed of brick paving on a bed of sand which is a permeable base. This means the parking area is permitted development. Planning permission is not required.

Walls or fences on the highway boundary

You can erect a 'means of enclosure' up to one metre in height where it is next to a highway, or up to two metres high on any other boundary. An enclosure means a structure such as a gate, wall or fence. These rules do not apply to a Listed Building.

If an existing means of enclosure is altered or repaired, it can be extended to its former height. For more detailed or specific advice please visit the Planning Portal.

Ownership of land and boundaries is a civil matter. The planning enforcement team cannot help with ownership disputes.

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