Report a breach in planning control

The Planning Enforcement team investigates alleged breaches of planning control.

The main purpose of planning enforcement is to investigate alleged breaches of planning control and, where appropriate, to negotiate or pursue formal enforcement action depending on harm and expediency.

There are several situations where the Council may intervene to ensure the law is upheld and planning breaches are dealt with.

Report a possible breach of planning control

You can tell us about a potential breach of planning control using our online form.

Report a breach

Examples of alleged breaches of planning control

  • making alterations to a building without planning permission
  • unauthorised works to listed buildings or protected trees
  • breach of conditions attached to a planning permission
  • unauthorised display of advertisements
  • unauthorised change of use of building or land
  • badly neglected buildings and sites

Some works can be carried out without needing permission and would not be classed as a breach. The Planning Portal details the most common situations.

We do not investigate:

  • deeds and covenants
  • loss of property value or loss of view
  • boundary or land ownership and private rights of access disputes
  • right to light issues
  • parking on the highway
  • health and safety issues
  • clearing of vegetation from land
  • emission of noise and smells
  • damage to property and changes to the interior of the property (unless a listed building)

The Government approach to planning enforcement can be found in Enforcement and post-permission matters - GOV.UK. Our approach draws from this, which is documented in our Local Planning Enforcement Plan. This document is currently under review.

Certain building works or changes of use are defined as permitted development, meaning that an application for planning permission is not required. View our Is planning permission needed page for further information.

Search for planning applications and permissions

You can check if the works you are concerned about already have planning permission by viewing planning applications and permissions

Works to protected trees, hedges and listed buildings

If you believe unauthorised work to protected trees, hedges and listed buildings is being done, please contact the Customer Service team on 01263 513811.

What happens next

After carrying out an initial investigation, the Enforcement Officer will decide if a breach of planning control has occurred.  The Council can take a range of actions, which are explained in the Local Planning Enforcement Plan. We will prioritise your complaint and aim to get back to you in 5 working days.   

If formal notices have been served, these become public documents and can be viewed online on the Enforcement Register which is part of the Planning Public Access system.