Planning Enforcement

Each year we determine over 1500 planning applications. There is no point in having a planning system if it is not properly policed. It is our duty to ensure that work is carried out as approved, and that no unauthorised building is allowed.

It is important to emphasise that the great majority of cases referred to the Enforcement Team are resolved by discussion and negotiation. This is very much to the benefit of all parties, including us. Nevertheless, when necessary, we do have statutory powers, and do use them. The Planning Enforcement Policy sets out to explain both for those reporting an alleged planning infringement, or those who are being investigated, what the rules are, and how they can be applied.

How to report a breach of planning control to us

We rely greatly on the town and parish councils and the public to report suspected breaches of planning control. If you think that a breach of planning control has taken place you can inform us by:

It will help us if you provide as much information as possible about the suspected breach. For example, please give as full a description as you can of the activity and its location. If possible, let us know how long you believe the breach has been taking place and the name or names of the person or persons involved. It will help us to prioritise our investigation if you can also say what harm is caused or is likely to be caused by the breach.

We will not investigate a suspected breach reported to us anonymously unless the matter clearly falls within our first priority list as detailed in the Planning Enforcement Policy. We need your name and contact details. We will make every effort possible within the legal obligations imposed on us by the Freedom of Information legislation to ensure that your identity is not disclosed and we will always let you know the outcome of our investigations. However, if the matter you report to us is one of the very small percentage that require legal action to be taken, it is possible that you will be asked to provide written or oral evidence if that action eventually leads to a prosecution.

You might also find it helpful to view the guidance from The Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (specifically on domestic clients) which outlines the duties a householder has when having construction work carried out to their homes. A breach of this guidance would not necessarily be a breach of planning control, but may require reporting to the Health and Safety Executive.

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