Planning Enforcement

How to report a planning breach and what legislation is in place to tackle planning control issues.

Enforcement Plan

The Council has produced a Planning Enforcement Policy(.pdf)(784KB)(Opens in New Window) (Opens in a New Window) which was adopted in September 2023. The document sets out the Council’s policy and procedure for enforcement action so that the Council’s resources are put to best use dealing with breaches of planning control that threaten the local built and natural environment or the amenities of neighbours. 

What is Planning Enforcement?

Planning legislation empowers the Council to take action when breaches of planning control have taken place.

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.

What powers does the Council have?

Enforcement Notices

An Enforcement Notice specifies what is wrong, what needs to be done to remedy the problem, and the rights of appeal against the notice itself.

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.

Breach of Condition Notice

The Council also 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 and 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.

Stop Notice

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 may consider the service of a Stop Notice requiring all work to stop immediately.

Other Action

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.

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

You can report a planning breach by completing the online Planning Enforcement Complaints Form (Opens in a New Window) (Opens in a New Window).

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 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.

Planning Enforcement
tel: 0115 917 7777