Planning enforcement

What happens when planning laws are breached?

Report an alleged breach of planning control

To report alleged breaches of planning control or if you believe something to be an unauthorised development, please email us on

You can use our planning system to view details of planning enforcements.

Land owners and developers have to comply with planning legislation and not carry out any development until they have the necessary planning permission.

If development does take place without permission, we have a full range of enforcement powers available to us, so we can establish whether a breach of planning control has taken place, what harm is caused as a result of the breach and how to remedy the situation. 

When development is carried out without, we will investigate the matter. Enforcement action is not mandatory, and we will decide, based upon the details of each case, whether or not it is appropriate to take enforcement action. 

What do we do when a complaint has been made?

  • We aim to investigate cases within 10 working days of them being reported
  • Our planning and enforcement officers have legal powers to gain access to premises or land (normally without an appointment) if they feel it is warranted
  • We will inform the owner or occupier of the findings of the site visit, setting out the breach that appears to be taking place and what enforcement action the council will consider
  • Complaints are treated in confidence - complainants details will not be publicly available. Complainants will be kept informed about the progress and any decisions the council makes

In some cases the breach may be rectified, either by a retrospective submission of a planning application or by negotiation. When a negotiated decision cannot be reached, we can take action. Our usual options are:

  • to serve an Enforcement Notice requiring that corrective action be taken within a specified period
  • or a Breach of Condition Notice when development has not been in accordance with the permission
  • or a Waste Land Notice requiring that steps be taken to tidy up a garden or area of land

Failure to comply can lead to prosecution.

Appealing against an enforcement notice

Appeals against enforcement notices can be made to the Planning Inspectorate.

Planning and Enforcement

Please leave a message on the answerphone and an officer will return your call as soon as possible. Messages are usually picked up twice a day.

Planning and Building Control,
Town Hall,
Market Street,

Tel: 01282 661333

A Guide to the Planning Enforcement process

Further information

Guide to the Development Control process

Further information