Enforcing planning rules
The majority of people work within the planning system and seek the necessary planning consents before commencing development.
However, the department does receive many complaints about development taking place without planning consent or contrary to a condition of a planning consent. These complaints will be investigated and, where appropriate, enforcement action initiated to resolve the problem.
For further information about our service, download the Council's Enforcement Policy [PDF file 138KB]|.
It is not an offence to carry out development without planning permission.
It is an offence:
- not to comply with enforcement type notices
- to carry out works (other than like for like repairs) to a listed building without listed building consent
- to carry out works to protected trees without the Council's written consent
- to display an advertisement without the necessary advertisement consent.
When a complaint is received, an enforcement officer aims to visit the site within 4 weeks to assess if planning regulations are being breached. If it appears that there is a breach, then the person responsible would be asked to take positive action to resolve the breach. Such action could consist of:
- submitting a retrospective planning application
- ceasing the unauthorised activities and / or removing any unauthorised development
- demonstrating that planning permission has been obtained or is not required.
Should no progress be made, formal enforcement has to be considered.
The crucial issue is whether the breach of planning control unacceptably affects public amenity or the existing use of land and buildings meriting protection in the public interest; if it does, then it is expedient to take enforcement action. However, enforcement action should not be taken against trivial or technical breaches of planning control which cause no harm to the surrounding neighbourhood.
Enforcement action cannot be taken just because there has been a breach of planning control.
Development becomes immune from enforcement action:
- 4 years after substantial completion;
- 10 years for most unauthorised activities and breach of conditions.