Where we are unable to assist


These case studies are common issues that are not a planning enforcement issue.

We appreciate the time and trouble taken to report an issue. However the reporting process can lead to a delay if planning enforcement is not the appropriate route.

By providing the following case studies of issues that cannot be resolved through planning enforcement, we hope that we are:

  • reducing the time it takes you to report an issue
  • helping you report it to the most appropriate department.

Examples of cases where formal action is not appropriate

Garden fence

A report was made about a fence erected on the boundary of the garden between 2 properties. The complainant's garden is 1 metre lower than the garden where the fence has been erected. The fence measures 2 metres in height from the land on which it has been built. Because the complainant's garden is 1 metre lower, the top of the fence is 3 metres in height when measured by the complainant.

Height must be measured from the ground level on which the fence has been built.  Therefore the fence is permitted development and planning permission is not required.

Fence slightly higher than the permitted height

A fence was erected on the boundary of the garden between 2 properties. A fence up to 2 metres in height could be erected without the need for planning permission.  This fence measured 2.2 metres in height.

The additional height of 0.2 metres does not cause any planning harm. It was considered not expedient to pursue enforcement action. Slight increases over the above permitted development are unlikely to cause sufficient harm to justify taking enforcement action in most (but not all) cases.

Civil covenants/deeds related to garden fences

A 1 metre high fence was erected at the front of a property where there is a covenant on the deeds of the property.  The covenant states that there will be no fencing on the front gardens.

Planning does not control covenants. The fence is permitted development and planning permission is not required. Breaches of covenants are a civil matter and not a matter for the planning service.

Caravan in the garden

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

Planning permission is not required because the caravan is:

  • not a building and
  • it is being used for purposes incidental to the main dwelling.

Parking area to the front of the property

A parking area has been created at the front of a dwelling. It exceeds 5 square metres, but it is constructed of brick paving on a bed of sand which is a permeable base.

This means the parking area is permitted and planning permission is not required.

Planning Enforcement Plan

We have published the Planning Enforcement Plan.  It provides guidance for businesses, planning professionals and the public. 

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