Our planning enforcement team deal with any alleged planning breach reported to them. This includes complaints about developments taking place without planning permission or building works and change of use of land or buildings.

What is a breach of planning control?

A breach of planning control is defined in section 171A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as:

  • the carrying out of development without the required planning permission; or
  • failing to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted.

Carrying out development without planning permission is generally not a criminal offence. As set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, “effective enforcement is important to maintain public confidence in the planning system. Enforcement action is discretionary, and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control.”

How we respond to reported planning breaches

Planning Practice Guidance states when investigating a potential breach of planning control, it is crucial for us to attempt to contact the owner or occupier of the site. Early engagement is vitally important to establish whether:

  • there is a breach of planning control and the degree of harm which may be resulting
  • those responsible for any breach are receptive to taking action to remedy the breach

Report a planning breach

To report a breach, we need:

  • the address of the breach
  • type of breach such as erection of a building or structure, advertisement or change of use
  • your name and address
  • a detailed description of the breach

Details of who is reporting a breach are kept confidential. We will tell you of the outcome once we've looked into it.

You can complete our online form to report a suspected planning breach

What happens next?

Complaints will be assessed against our Enforcement Priorities. Site inspections will take place based on the priority of the breach and will be unannounced in order that any potential breach is not concealed. Complaints will be investigated within 10 working days of receipt.

Enforcement Policies

Read our Planning Enforcement Policies.