Investigating planning breaches
We investigate and action all types of alleged breaches of planning control in accordance with our published Planning Enforcement Plan (PDF 358.3KB) .
We investigate reported complaints of alleged unauthorised development, including changes of use of land or buildings, as well as reported non compliances with approved planning schemes. We do not normally investigate anonymous complaints.
We do not investigate complaints of noise including from construction sites, floodlight disturbance, odour nuisance, mud on the highway, fly tipping, structural problems and neighbour disputes, as these are dealt with under other legislation.
Firstly we determine if a breach of planning control has taken place. In most cases an enforcement officer will visit the site. Officers have the power to gain entry to premises.
We take a corporate approach to enforcement and during an investigation planning enforcement officers may liaise with other sections such as environmental health to ensure all contraventions are dealt with.
If your development is unauthorised you have the right to make a retrospective planning application. Enforcement action is discretionary and if the breach is not causing harm, it is possible a retrospective planning application will be invited. However, we will take formal action if the development is considered totally unacceptable.
A breach causes serious harm if it is contrary to planning policies or causes unacceptable nuisance for neighbours, looks unsightly in the street scene or is a traffic hazard.