Enforcement - Reporting alleged planning breaches
If you think that someone has either carried out unauthorised development or hasn't fully complied with conditions placed on their development, you can check our online planning register - Public Access to see what, if any, planning permissions have been granted at the site.
See it Report it
If you wish to report perceived unauthorised development work, breaches please complete our online form Report an alleged breach of planning
Please note the form must be completed fully in order for us to investigate the breach. Our privacy notice is on the form and advises that your information will be confidential. Any anonymous forms will not be investigated.
We will investigate and take any enforcement action that we think is appropriate and proportionate.
- building work, engineering operations and material changes of use that required planning permission but were carried out without it;
- failure to comply with conditions or the terms of a legal agreement attached to a permission or consent;
- unauthorised demolition of a building within a conservation area without conservation area consent;
- works carried out to a listed building (both internal works and external) which affect its historic character or setting without listed building consent having been granted;
- unauthorised felling or carrying out works to a tree which is protected by a tree preservation order or which is within a conservation area;
- display of a sign or advertisement without first obtaining advertisement consent;
- untidy sites;
- failure to comply with the requirements of an Enforcement Notice, Stop Notice or Temporary Stop Notice.
Types of Enforcement
Throughout the investigation process we will stay in touch with both the complainant and the person suspected of breaching planning control. At all stages of the investigation, we will decide upon the proportionate level of future action. The list below details some of the steps we may choose to take, although this list is not exhaustive:
No further action
We may decide that enforcement action is not proportionate to the level of harm caused by a breach. This may be for cases where the breach is of a technical nature or where it is judged that unconditional planning permission would be granted should an application be submitted.We will encourage the submission of a retrospective planning application in these circumstances.
Planning Contravention Notice (PCN)
Requires persons to divulge information in respect of land and activities. This is often the first formal step in resolving a breach of planning control.
Failure to provide information requested through a PCN can result in a fine of up to £1,000, whilst providing false information can result in a fine of up to £5,000.
Request for Information:
Similar to a PCN, but cases where the Council has sufficient details about the activities being carried out but requires further information concerning ownership. It is also used in cases involving unauthorised works to a listed building where there is no associated breach of planning control. The penalties attached to an RFI are similar to those for the PCN.
The most common notice used to deal with a breach of planning control. It is served when the Council is satisfied that there has been a breach of planning control and that it is expedient to take action.
An Enforcement Notice will specify the breach, the steps that must be taken to remedy the breach and a specified time period for compliance.
The recipient of an Enforcement Notice has a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and should do so before the notice comes into effect.
Failure to comply with an Enforcement Notice can result in a fine, the value of which will be set by the Court.
Breach of Condition Notice:
To secure compliance with conditions specified within a planning permission. A minimum of 28 days will be given for compliance. There is no right of appeal against a Breach of Condition Notice. Failure to comply with a Breach of Condition Notice can result in a fine of up to £1,000.
Must be accompanied by an Enforcement Notice and served at the same time. A stop notice will ensure that any activity that may irrevocably harm the amenity, public safety or natural environment ceases. A stop notice can be used to ensure that work does not continue when an appeal is lodged against an Enforcement Notice.
Failure to comply with a Stop Notice can result in a fine, the value of which will be set by the Court.
Temporary Stop Notice:
As above, but only valid for 28 days and cannot be re-issued following that period. This will be used when a potential breach requires immediate action and will allow the Council time to investigate the potential breach.
Failure to comply with a Temporary Stop Notice can result in a fine, the value of which will be set by the Court.
There may be exceptional cases where it will be to restrain an actual or potential breach of planning control. An injunction can be sought whether or not enforcement action has been taken. Due to the high costs involved an injunction is only used as a last resort and where the Council determines that other action is unlikely to succeed.
Section 215 Notice – Town and Country Planning Act 1990:
This Notice is served on owners of buildings/land to remedy the existing condition so it no longer adversely affects the local visual amenity. A Section 215 Notice will detail the steps required to remedy the existing condition and the timescale for compliance.
Failure to comply with a S215 Notice can result in a fine of up to £1,000.
If there is a failure to comply with a Notice, the Council may seek prosecution, which will be sought at a Magistrate’s or Crown Court. A successful prosecution could result in a fine.
Confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA):
Once a valid effective Enforcement Notice is breached a Council can, where appropriate, pursue a confiscation order under POCA. The initial preparations for the confiscation order are made in tandem with the prosecution, and an Accredited Financial Investigator will carry out all the investigations into the defendant’s financial situation. Where a conviction is secured the confiscation order process will normally commence with an application by the Local Planning Authority.