Planning Enforcement

If you are concerned about unauthorised development or works to protected trees, or if you think a planning condition is not being complied with, you can find information here.

Enforcement action is discretionary and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control.

What is or isn't a planning breach?

A breach of planning control could include the following:

  • Changes of use of land or buildings; e.g. from a house to a shop
  • The erection of buildings without permission
  • Building works which are different from what is shown on an approved plan
  • Not complying with conditions of a planning permission
  • Carrying out works to a listed building without listed building consent
  • Displaying signs or advertisements without consent.

The following are examples of activities, which are not breaches of planning control. The council would not be able to investigate:

  • Parking of commercial vehicles, vans, lorries etc on the highway in residential areas or on grass verges
  • Running a business from home where the house remains the main use and there is no adverse impact on residential amenity
  • Parking a caravan within the residential boundary of a property, provided that it is ancillary to the dwelling i.e. it is stored or used as an extra bedroom
  • Land ownership or boundary disputes

What should I do if I suspect a breach?

Have you checked if planning permission or permission to carry out works to a protected tree already exists? 

First, check to see if any permission exists for the development you wish to report. You can do this on our website using the button below.

Search for a planning application

For us to be able to fully investigate your concerns, we need as much information as possible from you.

If you are reporting ongoing unauthorised works to a protected tree outside of normal office hours, please call our out-of-hours number on 01803 867034.

Have you checked if planning permission is required for the work taking place? 

Planning permission is not required for all building works.

If not, please check using the Planning Portal website page.

Is the issue regarding any of the following?

  • Boundary or ownership disputes
  • Party wall issues
  • Covenant issues

If so, these are civil matters so please contact Citizens' Advice or seek legal advice. The Council is not a responsible authority for these matters.

We also have no power to investigate:

  • Loss of value to your property.
  • Loss of a view.
  • Boundary and neighbour disputes.
  • Impact on private drainage systems.
  • Inappropriate or personal comments.

What will the Council do about a breach of planning control?

To make sure that we effectively investigate alleged breaches of planning control we will undertake the following if appropriate to the case:

  • Record details of all complaints.
  • Advise the person who made the complaint (if requested) and any other relevant interested parties the outcome of our investigations.
  • Assess whether there has been a breach of planning control and whether further investigations are needed or any enforcement powers should be used.
  • Collate any additional information required and carry out consultations, site visits or write to people with an interest in the land.
  • Invite a retrospective planning application or require the removal or alteration of the breach, if appropriate.

All complaints made by private individuals or companies are kept confidential, your name will not be disclosed without your knowledge and agreement, unless we are legally required to do so.

Unless you have a good reason for not giving us your details, and explain why, anonymous complaints will not normally be investigated and cannot be reported online.

Click here to report a Planning Breach