Planning enforcement

What happens when planning laws are breached?

If someone is doing building work that requires planning permission which they have not got - you can report this to us as a breach of planning control.

Report a breach of planning control

To report a breaches of planning control please email

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

Land owners and developers have to follow planning laws and not carry out any development until they have the necessary planning permission.

If development does start without planning permission, we will investigate. We have a range of enforcement powers available to:

  • establish whether a breach of planning control has taken place,
  • the harm caused as a result of the breach
  • and how to resolve the situation.

Enforcement action is not mandatory. We will decide, based upon the details of each case, whether it is appropriate to take enforcement action.

What do we do when we receive a complaint?

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

In some cases the breach may be put right, 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 is done within a specified period
  • or a Breach of Condition Notice when development has not been in line with the permission
  • or a Waste Land Notice requiring that steps are 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