About planning enforcement

Planning Enforcement

What is a planning breach?

It is a breach to carry out without any necessary consent

  • building works and changes of use
  • demolition in a conservation area
  • works to listed buildings
  • works to protected trees
  • works to countryside hedgerows
  • external advertisements

The following are also breaches of planning control

  • not complying with conditions attached to a consent
  • departures from approved details
  • untidy land or buildings

You can see for yourself if consent has been granted by viewing planning application details online.

What is not a Planning breach?

  • disputes about land ownership
  • the position of property boundaries
  • disputes over private rights of way
  • breaches of restrictive covenants on property deeds

These are private matters between the parties involved. If they cannot be resolved through agreement you should seek independent advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or a solicitor

What happens when planning controls are breached?

We investigate all complaints. If you want to tell us about a suspected breach of planning control please complete our form to report a suspected breach.

We recognise that some breaches of planning control are genuine mistakes where people don't know they need permission.

Most breaches of planning control are not criminal offences. Nevertheless, we have a range of enforcement powers to remedy their effects.

Breaches can become immune through the passage of time: 10 years for most uses and conditions and 4 years for building and engineering works. There is no period of immunity for breaches of listed building control.

Further Information

Further information is available in our range of enforcement leaflets that are available for download below.

How to make a complaint
How we investigate your complaint
If you are suspected of breaching planning controls
Enforcement notices explained
Enforcement: our powers
Planning enforcement and Monitoring Plan
Estate agents' boards