The planning enforcement customer charter

Planning enforcement charter

Buckinghamshire Council has adopted an enforcement charter which tells you about our service standards that apply when we are investigating or dealing with suspected breaches of planning controls.

The planning enforcement charter will:

  • Give you information about whether planning permission is needed for different types of developments.
  • Display a planning history of a development listing the permissions refused or granted and any conditions that apply to the development.
  • Provide you with details of statutory building
  • Explain details of our conservation areas
  • Display details of tree preservation orders.
  • Explain what is and what is not a breach of planning controls
  • Allow you to make a complaint on-line using a web-form with the ability for you to upload photographs of the site you are complaining about.

The planning enforcement service. 

When you report a suspected planning control breach we will:-

  • Acknowledge receipt of your complaint by e-mail on the same day as we receive it.
  • In most cases we will make a decision on your complaint within 1 month and notify you of the result.
  • Where we can’t make a decision within 1 month (normally in complex cases) we will notify you of this and give you an update on progress every two months until a decision is made.
  • Should we need you to provide us with additional information we will ask you to provide this within 1 month. If you do not contact us within that month we will assume that the issue has been resolved and we will close your complaint.
  • We will not normally investigate anonymous complaints

Priority cases.

Although we will try and deal with all complaints quickly, priority will be given to investigating ongoing work to listed buildings, trees or hedgerows, or work that is in progress and is causing serious harm.

If someone complains about you we will:

  • Where appropriate, visit the site of the alleged breach. This could be done without your knowledge as enforcement officers are allowed to enter land and premises at reasonable hours to undertake investigations.
  • Where we decide there is a breach we will contact you promptly to explain what the breach is and what needs to be done to resolve it.
  • This can include;
    • Submitting a retrospective planning application.
    • Applying for a certificate of lawful use.
    • Removing an unauthorised structure or works
    • Stopping an unauthorised activity.
  • We will only take formal enforcement action, such as serving legal notices, as a last result or where there is significant harm being caused and planning permission is unlikely to be granted. We will first seek to resolve any issues with you amicably and reasonably.
  • Where we need you to take action to resolve a breach we will give you reasonable time to comply, unless it is causing such harm that it is necessary to sort it out immediately.

Comments and suggestions

We hope you will be satisfied with the service we provide to you. If you do have any suggestions, concerns or difficulties, we want to hear from you. We are committed to improving our service and dealing promptly with any shortcomings.

We know that it can be disappointing if the Council does not agree with you that there has been a breach of planning controls; or where we identify a breach, but subsequently grant retrospective planning permission so the work can continue. However, we do have to work within planning statute and Government guidelines and our decisions must reflect this.

If you wish to make a suggestion as to how we can improve our service please use our comments, compliments or complaints service.