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Planning enforcement

Planning enforcement is the process of ensuring development is carried out in accordance with planning permission and that unauthorised development is brought under control.  If someone carries out development, including a change of use of premises or land without planning permission, or where development is not in accordance with approved plans or the planning conditions of granted permissions, then this is considered to be a breach of planning control.

The Council have an adopted local Enforcement Plan which sets out how we deal with planning enforcement complaints.

Various developments or changes of use do not require planning permission as planning permission is deemed to be automatically granted (usually due to their limited size and impact).  This is known as permitted development. We can advise you on what constitutes permitted development.

Some types of planning control breaches are criminal offences such as carrying out unauthorised works to listed buildings or the display of advertisements without consent, although some advertisements benefit from deemed consent.  Other development carried out without planning permission is not a criminal offence but it may expose the owner of the land to possible enforcement action.

Breaches of Planning Control may include:

  • carrying out development (construction) without planning permission

For example: constructing an extension which is not permitted development; erecting a fence over 2 metres (or 1 metre by a highway); installing security shutters to a shop.

  • carrying out development (change of use) without planning permission

For example: conducting a business such as the sale of cars from home; converting an office to a shop; converting a family house to bedsits.

  • failing to comply with a planning condition (breach of condition)

For example: failing to implement a landscaping scheme; operating a shop outside agreed hours.

  • carrying out unauthorised works to a listed building

For example: installing uPVC double glazing without listed building consent


All complaints will be treated in the strictest confidence.  Anonymous complaints will not be dealt with as a priority and may not be dealt with where this is not in the wider public interest.

When reporting a breach of planning control the following information should be provided as fully as possible

  • your name, address and telephone number
  • location and precise address (if possible) where the alleged breach is occurring
  • landowner or occupier's name if known
  • nature of the alleged breach of planning control
  • how the breach of control is affecting yourself or neighbours and residents in the locality
  • approximate period of time or first date from which the alleged breach occurred or became known to yourself

The information may help to determine the priority of the complaint and the expediency of taking formal enforcement action.  Failure to supply critical information may hinder or prevent an effective investigation of the alleged breach.

Last updated Friday, 24th March 2023

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