Planning Enforcement Information

Planning Enforcement ensures that unauthorised developments without planning consent or developments that are not complying with conditions attached to Planning Permissions are investigated and, if appropriate, take action.

What is a breach of planning control?

Common causes of breaches of planning control include:

  • Unauthorised building works
  • Unauthorised changes of use of land or buildings
  • Illegal advertisements
  • Illegal works to a listed building
  • Unauthorised demolition of buildings in Conservation Areas
  • Breaches of planning conditions
  • Untidy land
  • Illegal works to trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders or in Conservation Areas
  • Illegal removal of hedgerows

What is not a breach of planning control?

Activities which are not a breach of planning control and where enforcement action cannot be taken include:

  • Operating a business from home where the residential use remains the primary use
  • Clearing land of overgrowth, bushes and trees provided that they are not subject to planning protection
  • Boundary disputes
  • Breaches of covenants attached to properties
  • Loss of view
  • Damage or loss of value to properties
  • Issues regarding inconsiderate parking and blocking of accesses

Some physical alterations to buildings as well as some changes of use of land or buildings are granted deemed planning permission under “permitted development rights”; and therefore, don’t need express planning permission from the Council.  If development occurs following the conditions and limitations laid out in the relevant planning legislation, then enforcement action cannot be taken.

Making a complaint

To report a suspected breach of planning control, you can contact the Planning Enforcement Team by filling in the online form.

What happens next?

Planning Enforcement work to resolve unauthorised breaches through negotiation, rather than immediate formal action. However, when unauthorised development is both unacceptable in planning terms and causing significant harm to the amenity of an area, we will not hesitate in taking formal enforcement action.

Whilst there is a range of actions available to us, enforcement action is a discretionary power. Action will only be considered if:

  • The development has occurred without the appropriate permission or consent
  • The purported breach would result in significant and irreparable harm

Any enforcement action must be within the public interest and should be in line with the breach in question. All alleged breaches of planning control are investigated in accordance with our Planning Enforcement Policy.


The name and address of anyone informing us of a possible breach will be kept confidential. However, requests for total confidentiality of the information supplied may limit our ability to take action and cannot be guaranteed if an investigation were to be considered at Appeal or in Court.

Anonymous complaints will not be investigated unless in exceptional circumstances or where there are public safety implications.

Last updated 12 April 2024
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