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What is planning enforcement?

Our planning enforcement service investigates alleged breaches of planning control.

We aim to provide both a proactive and reactive planning enforcement service. However, in most circumstances, members of the public will be the first to witness breaches of planning control when they occur and we rely on you to report those issues to us. You can report an alleged breach of planning control by email, phone or post; the planning enforcement customer charter sets out the contact details.

When issues are reported to us, we will aim to investigate on site within 10 working days and advise the complainant of our findings and intended actions within 20 working days from receiving the complaint. Further details of the process can be found in the planning enforcement customer charter.

As part of our investigations and in the enforcement of planning we may need to visit the site and take photographs; a photograph protocol for officers taking and using photographs on private land is available.

We try to resolve breaches of planning control by asking you to put matters right. For example, if you have gone ahead with work without permission we may ask you to apply for planning permission retrospectively. Where this fails or is not appropriate, we will move to formal enforcement action, including prosecution. We take our enforcement responsibility seriously and have produced a customer charter to explain the aims, service standards, and procedures of the planning enforcement service.

Examples of concerns not covered ​by planning legislation:

  • Antisocial behaviour​
  • Works on council owned land or highways​
  • Obstruction of a highway​
  • Statutory nuisance (excessive noise, pollution)​
  • Damage to protected trees/hedgerows​
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