Report a breach of planning control

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.

Report an issue

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:

Building or engineering works have or are being carried out to a dwelling house

Building or engineering works have or are being carried out to a non dwelling house

Use of land or building has changed (including bringing caravans onto the land)

Non-compliance with plans or conditions attached to a planning consent

Work to a listed building or demolition has occurred in a conservation area

Work to trees within a Tree Preservation Order or Conservation Area

An advertisement is being displayed

Other forms of development or matters dealt with by planning enforcement

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.

Stages of enforcement

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.  

Other checks and considerations

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 :

  • demolition
  • 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:

  • building
  • object or
  • structure

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
  • parks
  • gardens and
  • battlefields.

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:

View the conservation area interactive map

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:

View the tree preservation order interactive map

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.

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.

Need help?

Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.

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