Report a planning problem (breach of planning control).
Planning enforcement is the process by which we investigate and resolve breaches of planning control. This includes complaints about development taking place without planning permission or properties being used for business or other uses where permission has not been received. A breach of planning control is:
- The use of land or the carrying out of development without the required permission
- Failing to comply with any condition or limitation of planning permission
Please note we cannot investigate:
- Boundary or ownership disputes
- Covenant issues
- Party Wall Act issues
If you think a breach of planning control has occurred
You can submit a request for investigation using our online form.
Or you can fill in and return the form at the bottom of this page.
We can only proceed with enforcement action where there has been a confirmed breach of control. We often cannot help with unconfirmed reports that work may be about to take place.
All complaints are confidential. Your name and address will not be released without your permission. However, if the matter about which you have complained becomes the subject of a planning application any representations you make on that application will become part of the public record.
If you are concerned for your safety, or for personal reasons you do not wish to give your name and address, you may prefer to report the matter to your elected Councillor who can then contact us confidentially on your behalf.
What we will do
- The planning history of the site will be checked and if the alleged breach does not require permission or has obtained approval, you will be notified accordingly.
- If a possible breach has occurred an investigation will be made and the Council will decide if enforcement action is appropriate.
- If further action is to be taken the Council will normally allow a suitable period for remedial action to be taken. If appropriate the submission of a retrospective application for consideration can be made.
- Additional time may be allowed when there is a clear intent demonstrated to remedy the situation.
- If the matter cannot be resolved by negotiation then formal action will be considered.
Please read our Enforcement Strategy document for detailed information on how we process investigations.
Formal action is usually the issue of a notice which requires the provision of information, works to be carried out, or an activity to stop in order to remedy a breach of planning control. When a notice is served the requirements of the notice must be complied with. Where appropriate an appeal can be made against the notice. If an appeal is lodged, the enforcement notice does not take effect until an independent planning inspector gives a decision upon the matter, which can take a number of months. Details of how to make an appeal can be found on the Planning Portal.
In order to successfully prosecute an enforcement notice, evidence to the Courts is vitally important, and occasionally this can only be provided by persons directly affected by the breach.
Breaches of planning control are not generally illegal but there are some cases which constitute an offence actionable in the Courts, such as:
- Non compliance with a formal notice
- Unauthorised works to a Listed Building
- Display of unauthorised signs
- Unauthorised work to a tree which is the subject of a Preservation Order
- Unauthorised work to a tree in a Conservation Area
- Obstructing an officer in the execution of his duty
If the offence is of such a serious nature, the Council will exercise its right to pursue a prosecution. The Council will not condone wilful breaches of planning legislation and will exercise its discretion to take, when expedient, appropriate enforcement action. In some cases it may even be necessary for a building to be demolished.
Paper Form - for printing and completing by hand.
Editable Form - for completing online and sending by email or for completing online then printing a hard copy.