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Planning enforcement

What we'll investigate, and how to report a planning breach

What our Enforcement Team do

The reasons for having an enforcement system are:

  • to control new development
  • to stop inappropriate development
  • to prevent unacceptable planning activity
  • to check the conditions attached to planning permissions

The law allows small developments, that are unlikely to have any harmful effect, to go ahead without the need for planning permission. We call this 'permitted development'.

However, there are exceptions. There is no permitted development for:

  • listed buildings

And there is restricted permitted development for:

  • work within conservation areas
  • areas covered by an Article 4 Direction

You can find out what is permitted by going to our planning portal.

Anything that is not a permitted development will need planning permission. And in some cases, Listed Building or Conservation Area Consent.

Complaints we will investigate

Generally, the types of complaint we'll investigate are:

  • unauthorised building works
  • unauthorised change of use
  • unauthorised works to listed buildings
  • unauthorised adverts
  • unauthorised works to protected trees
  • untidy land having an adverse impact on the amenity

Complaints we won't investigate

We will not investigate anonymous complaints, except if the complaint relates to irreplaceable assets.

Any information you provide to us will be strictly confidential. It will not be shared save in accordance with the law and where there is a legal duty to do so.

Report a breach of planning

Please tell us about anything you believe:

  • may not have planning permission
  • breaches planning rules

Please do not complete our online form if the complaint is urgent and relates to:

In these instances please call us on 01553 616200 so we can investigate more quickly.

You can report a breach of planning online. You can now track the progress of your report through registering for our My Account service.

Registering for an account is easy and will allow you to securely access our services 24/7.

To report a breach of planning you'll need:

  • your contact details
  • full details of the breach
  • to have checked that the activity doesn't have planning permission already (you can do so by using our Public Access facility)

You can also search for an enforcement notice using our Public Access facility.

Report a breach

What will happen next

Once you make your report the complaint will be assessed, prioritised and if required, investigated further.

However, please note that due to the high volume of investigations currently being dealt with it will not be possible to keep you updated with the progress.

Further information

Further information on planning enforcement can be found on the Planning Portal website.