Report an alleged breach of planning

What a breach may involve

  • Building Works affecting the external appearance of the building
  • Internal and external works to a listed building
  • Material changes of use
  • Non-compliance with conditions attached to planning consents
  • The display of advertisements
  • Substantial demolition works in a Conservation Area
  • The felling of protected trees

Report an alleged breach of planning control

If you believe a breach of planning control has occurred, you can report it to our Planning Enforcement Team by using the online form below. You will be asked to create a My Account before you can complete the form.

Planning Enforcement Referral form

Please include as much detail as possible. The majority of successful investigations are aided by information supplied by the complainant and you can help the council by being prepared to collect information and give evidence for appeals or prosecutions. It is for this reason the council do not usually accept anonymous enquiries.

Works we can't investigate

It is important to be aware that certain works or changes of use may not require consent. Where permission is not required from the local planning authority, or where planning legislation permits the development, the council will not be able to take enforcement action.

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) for further information.

The Planning Enforcement team are unable to investigate:

  • Neighbour disputes
  • Land boundaries or ownership disputes
  • Works to party walls
  • Smells, noise and pollution
  • Fly-tipping
  • Use of development on highways or pavements
  • Dangerous structures

How we respond to breaches of planning control

If it is established that a breach of planning control has occurred, our Planning Enforcement team will attempt to resolve the matter initially by negotiation. The enforcement of planning law is particularly complex.

It needs to strike a balance between:

  • The rights of individuals to use or alter their property in the way they wish;
  • The need to safeguard the character and quality of neighbourhoods; and
  • The need to uphold the planning policies for the local area in such a way as to protect the public interest.

In all cases, we have to assess what harm is being caused as a result of any breach and how the situation could be remedied without formal legal action. Although we can and do take formal legal action against breaches of planning control, we are advised to do so only as a last resort. The majority of cases are resolved through negotiation.

The investigation process is as follows:

  • Enquiries are registered, acknowledged and allocated to an Enforcement Officer within 10 working days
  • If the enquiry is valid, a site visit is conducted
  • Contact is made with the alleged offender
  • Action can vary depending upon the case
  • Steps 2-4 can take between 8-13 weeks to progress, in more complex cases this may be longer
Last updated: 17 October 2017. Was this information helpful?

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