What we can and cannot investigate
What we can investigate
- Unauthorised building developments
- Unauthorised changes of use
- Unauthorised works to Listed Buildings
- Display of unauthorised Adverts/Signage
- Untidy land belonging to private owners
- Unauthorised work to protected trees
- Unauthorised work to trees in Conservation Areas
It is not an offence to undertake development without formally applying for planning permission, and planning legislation specifically provides for planning permission to be granted to development carried out before the date of an application. This is known as retrospective planning permission
Where considered appropriate, an opportunity to apply for retrospective planning permission will be given. However, where the council believes serious harm is being caused, enforcement can be taken.
What we cannot investigate
- Neighbour disputes, civil matters such as boundary disputes and land encroachment, and trespass. - These are private matters for you and your neighbour/solicitor to resolve
- Breaches of private covenants attached to deeds and land titles. - These are private matters for you and your neighbour/solicitor to resolve
- Matters relating to dangerous buildings/structures. Please contact the Building Consultancy.
- Breaches occurring on or within a public highway –
- including parked vehicles on the highway.
- Obstruction on a highway driveways and parking spaces.
Please contact Streetpride to report any problems on 0333 200 6981.
- Matters relating to noise disturbance or pollution. To report any problems please contact Pollution Control on 01332 642020.
- Work to trees or removal of trees which are not located in a conservation area or protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). - These are private matters for you and your neighbour/solicitor to resolve
Reporting an alleged breach
If you wish to report a suspected breach of planning control, please provide as much information as possible. We will need to know:
- The address or detailed location of the site.
- Precise details of the alleged breach including measurements and photographs where appropriate.
- When the alleged breach started/took place (if known).
- The nature of any building work/uses of the property.
- The previous and current uses of the property.
- Names, addresses, telephone numbers of persons responsible. (if known)
- Your name, address and contact number, as we cannot deal with anonymous complaints(All complaints are treated as confidential)
Remember: Our best sources of information about suspected breaches of planning control are members of the public. The information you provide may be crucial to our investigation of alleged breaches.
To report an alleged breach of planning control / Unauthorised developments, please fill in our online complaint form. This will be received by our Planning Enforcement Team directly.
We will treat all information provided in the strictest confidence, in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972. We will only use it for a legal reason or the purpose it is given. We will only share information when we have your consent or we need to ask another department or partner to respond to a specific comment or request you have made.
How we deal with complaints
Please be aware that due to current situation, it is not always possible for the Enforcement Officer to make a site visit, this will only be made IF access can be gained without entering the property, otherwise the complaints will be assessed via photographic evidence if available. If neither a site visit is feasible or no/little photographic evidence is available, the complaint may not be investigated fully until restrictions have eased and the officer be able to gain access through the property.
Most breaches of planning control are reported to the Council directly by members of the public. The procedure outlined below is a brief guide to how we may respond to these complaints:
- Complaint received and logged.
- Planning history check of the site carried out.
- If required, a site visit by the Enforcement Officer is made to establish the nature of the alleged breach and gather evidence.
- Where a breach is found, the landowner may be requested to take necessary action to remedy the breach. We may request: the owner to submit a retrospective planning application to regularise the unauthorised development/activity. The owner provides information that proves that Planning Permission is not required.
- Where there is a repeated failure to comply with our requests, and where the breach continues, the Council will consider taking formal enforcement action. This action will depend on the type of breach that has occurred. Enforcement action will only be commenced when we consider it expedient to do so and when all other reasonable options to remedy the breach have been exhausted.
Please note formal enforcement action can be a long and complex process. It is not an immediate solution to any unauthorised development/activity and in some circumstances there is a right of appeal against the action.
Please view our Planning Enforcement Register for more information.