What happens if I don't have permission?

Get the necessary permission for planning and building

This page explains what happens when works are carried out without the necessary planning or building control permission.

How to find out if development has the necessary permission or consent

View details of planning applications to find out if development has planning permission. Please report a possible breach of planning control if you think planning controls may have been breached.

To find out whether or not work is authorised under the building regulations, contact our Building Control team on 01296 585445.

How to remedy the situation when work is carried out without the necessary permission

Planning permission: you can apply for retrospective planning permission. The fact that development has already taken place will not influence our evaluation or decision. Where development or uses have existed for either 4 or 10 years it becomes exempt from prosecution and you can apply for a “Certificate of legal use”. Whether the 4 year or 10 year rule applies is not always straightforward, so you should contact our planning enforcement team for advice. Follow this link to download application forms.

Building control: you should submit a regularisation application.  Follow these links to download an application form and schedule of charges.

What happens when development remains unauthorised?

When we think there may have been a breach of building regulations or planning controls we carry out an investigation to collect all the relevant facts so that we can establish whether a breach has occurred.

Where a breach has occurred, we initially try to resolve the matter through negotiation. This may involve asking the owner to make some changes or we may ask them to submit an application to regularise the situation.

We take formal action as a last resort where negotiation fails and the breach has a serious implications. Ultimately, this may involve prosecution in a Magistrates Court which may lead to a fine if convicted.

In cases where we feel it would not serve a useful purpose to take formal action, the breach of control will remain unaddressed but may cause problems for any future sale of the property. Building Control approval and a completion certification is now essential when you are selling a property.

Further information is available in the following downloadable leaflets:

If you are suspected of breaching planning controls
How to make a complaint
How we investigate your complaint
Enforcement notices explained
Our powers