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Planning Enforcement

Planning Enforcement

Planning Enforcement is an important function within the Planning process and forms an integral part of the Council's Development Management service.  The Planning Enforcement team's role is to investigate suspected or alleged breaches of planning control. The Council has adopted a Planning Enforcement Policy. The Enforcement Policy was formally Adopted by the Council on 10 January 2012 and is effective from this date for all new complaints and cases. In relation to pre-existing cases, we will have regard to our newly adopted priorities and service standards in taking these forward.  

The policy includes details of:

The Council's Enforcement Policy sets out the primary role of the Local Planning Authority in assessing breaches of planning control, following the general approach to planning enforcement as advocated by Central Government in Planning Policy Guidance 18 (Enforcing Planning Control) (PPG18).

Whilst PPG 18 is one of the documents revoked and replaced by the National Planning Policy Framework in March 2012, this Councils approach to investigating and taking action in relation to breaches of planning control remains unchanged .

Reporting an alleged breach

If you would like the Planning Enforcement Team to investigate an alleged or suspected breach of planning control, please complete the Alleged Breach of Planning Control Investigation Form.  Before completing this form, you are asked to check the following:

Please complete the pdf icon Alleged Breach of Planning Control Investigation Form [215kb] in as full a level of detail as possible, being sure to identify the harm you perceive to be being caused by the alleged breach of planning control.  Please note it is essential that you provide your full contact details.  The Enforcement team will not investigate anonymous complaints. Your details will be kept confidential.

Please note, when completing the Alleged Breach of Planning Control Investigation Form (above) please ensure you are using the latest version of your web browser and Adobe Reader.

What happens next?

On receipt of your the Alleged Breach of Planning Control Investigation Form, your request will be acknowledged and you will be given details of the case officer dealing with your request. Planning enforcement investigations are often complex, involving evidence collection and research. It therefore takes time for the Investigating Officer to establish whether there is a breach of planning regulations. The purpose of Planning Enforcement is to resolve any harm being caused by a breach, and therefore it is usual if a breach is identified to give a reasonable time for a retrospective planning application to be submitted, or for further works to be carried out to overcome that harm. Only if the Planning Enforcement Team is unsuccessful in achieving this through negotiation is formal action considered. Formal action will often involve an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. The Council therefore cannot normally take immediate action to put something right.  To learn more about the Enforcement Actions that are available to the Council, please follow this link.  Enforcement powers cannot be used solely to punish people for not complying with planning requirements.