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.
Former Portfolio Holder Councillor Hannaford explains how to report planning enforcement
You can help us deal with your issue as effectively as possible by providing us with as much information as you can. Please follow our steps to reporting issues below:
Have you checked if planning permission is required for the work taking place?
If not, please check using the planning portal website
If planning permission is required, please move to the next step
Have you checked if the location of the work has approved planning permission?
If not, please check using the online planning register
If planning permission is not granted, or the work is not complying with that permission, please move to the next step
Is the issue regarding any of the following?
- Boundary or ownership disputes
- Party wall issues
- Covenant issues
If so, these are civil matters so please contact citizens advice or seek legal advice
if not, please move to the next step
Please choose the type of planning breach to report:
Please speak to your neighbour first before contacting the Council. You may find that your neighbour has already found out if planning permission is required. Involving the Council can often cause friction between neighbours. A friendly conversation with your neighbour could result in them making minor alterations. This could overcome your concerns without causing any unnecessary upset.
The enforcement investigation 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.
Planning enforcement is a lengthy process. Government guidance sets out that formal enforcement action is a last resort. If there is a breach of planning control, the responsible person will usually be given the chance to put the matter right first. This opportunity is normally given before taking formal enforcement action.
Please note that the specific information relating to the enforcement complaint would contain personal data. This is as defined under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). We are unable to share this information. This means that we cannot provide you with updates as to what is happening on individual cases during the course of our investigation. Once the investigation is concluded, we will contact you with a brief summary of our findings.
The planning enforcement team produces quarterly reports on the team's workload and activity. The reports for the last 12 months are:
- Quarterly Enforcement Report 1 January - 31 March 2021
- Quarterly Enforcement Report 1 October - 31 December 2020
- Quarterly Enforcement Report 1 July - 30 September 2020
- Quarterly Enforcement Report 1 April - 30 June 2020
- Quarterly Enforcement Report 1 January - 31 March 2020
Sometimes these issues may be better dealt with through different means. For example, if a fence is erected on the wrong boundary line, this would be a civil issue. You and your neighbour would need to resolve this between you. It is not a planning issue. You could consider mediation as a way to resolve matters amicably.
Almost all work to a listed building would require Consent. Listed Building Consent is required for all works of :
- alteration or
- extension to a listed building
that affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.
It applies to:
- all types of works and
- all parts of those buildings covered by the listing protection (possibly including detached buildings in the curtilage or other structures)
provided that the works affect the character of the building as a building of special interest.
You can check if a building is listed. A 'listed building' is a:
- object or
that has been judged to be of national historical or architectural interest. There are two ways to check whether a property is a listed building.
You can use the Council's interactive map to locate the property by:
- using the Search function
- selecting Layer
- choosing Historical
- checking the Listed Building box.
You can also search the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) for all registered:
- listed buildings
- scheduled monuments
- protected wrecks
- gardens and
This list is the only official and up to date database of all protected historic buildings and sites in England.
A Conservation Area is an area of special architectural or historic interest. Its character or appearance is desirable to preserve or enhance. You can find out if a property is in a conservation area:
Cornwall Council has powers to protect trees and woodlands where:
- they make an important contribution to a public amenity and
- they are considered to be at risk.
You can find out if a tree is protected:
Information about the protection of trees and woodlands can be found on the Planning Advice and Guidance - Trees section.
There is a wide range of signage that can be displayed without applying for permission. This includes:
- small signs on properties
- some signs on commercial premises and shop fronts
- signs on enclosed land
- signs inside a building
subject to certain conditions and limitations.
You can find out more on the government website.