Situations in which enforcement action may be taken include:
- Development which has taken place without planning permission, and
- Development taking place which is at variance from that specified in a planning permission.
If an enforcement notice is ignored, or if the offending building or activity remains in place after the dismissal of an enforcement appeal, the offender can face prosecution in court. A fine may follow, together with an order to remove the offending development.
Additionally, the Council has powers to serve a Breach of Condition Notice against development taking place at variance to conditions attached to a planning permission. There is no right of appeal. If the specified problem is not rectified within a stated time period, direct prosecution can result against a person on whom a Breach of Conditions Notice is served.
Very occasionally urgent action is necessary to prevent serious breaches of planning law. For example, the Council may discover that a person is in the process of undertaking extensive damaging works to a listed building which, in a senior officer's opinion, would not receive Listed Building Consent. When such instances occur, the Council will serve a Stop Notice requiring all work to stop immediately. In a few cases, legal action will be taken against persons guilty of an offence under planning law.
The unauthorised alteration, damage or demolition of a listed building is a criminal offence which can result in a heavy fine or imprisonment, together with a requirement to restore the harmed building. Likewise, if works are carried out to a tree that is subject to a Tree Preservation Order or within a Conservation Area without consent the offender may be fined and required to plant a replacement tree. The illegal display of advertisements can also lead directly to a prosecution.
If a development has been carried out without necessary permission or not in accordance with planning permission which has been granted, the Council will normally seek the voluntary co-operation of those responsible to resolve the issue.
Report a Planning Breach
If you report a breach of planning control, details of your issue will be dealt with in the strictest confidence. Your name and address will not be repeated to the person or organisation involved in the alleged breach.
Please give as much detail as possible in relation to your complaint to enable us to investigate the matter more effectively. You can attach photographs or other documents to support your complaint. Our online Planning Enforcement Complaints Form can be found under Online Forms.
Our aim is to register your complaint within five working days of receipt and an acknowledgement will be posted to you, or sent by e-mail, if an email address is provided. The acknowledgement will contain a reference number for your records and please quote this for future contact.