Request a planning enforcement investigation
Our enforcement officers investigate complaints about work that may have been carried out without permission. Some of the most common cases include:
- building work
- change of use
- untidy land
- work to listed buildings
- felling or lopping trees
- erection of advertisements
- work not complying with planning conditions
There are lots of smaller jobs that can be done without planning permission. These types of work are known as 'permitted development'. To check whether work may need planning permission, visit the Planning Portal interactive guide.
If you believe works have been carried out without the appropriate permission, or are not in accordance with a permission that has been given, then let us know by completing the Breach of planning reporting form.
If you ask us to investigate an alleged breach you will need to provide your name, address and a contact telephone number, along with as much information as possible to identify the exact location and the alleged breach. You should be able to tell us what is happening and when it took place. You should try to identify who you believe is responsible and note any names that might prove useful, for example, details taken from advert boards or vehicles on site. Where possible, please provide dated photographs of work in progress. Complaints lacking in detail may be treated with less priority.
The planning enforcement service will seek to maintain the identity of any enquirer or complainant about an enforcement issue as confidential. However, if an appeal is lodged or a case goes to court, any representations received usually become public documents that are available for public inspection, including by the appellant and/or their legal representatives.
How do we assess what action is necessary?
We will assess enforcement investigations and any potential enforcement action in accordance with our Local Enforcement Policy (PDF, 4MB).
When a complaint is received, the first task is to check whether any permission is needed.
If the work does not need planning permission, or if permission has been granted and planning law has not been broken, we cannot take enforcement action.
If work has been done without the necessary permission, we will look to negotiate a satisfactory solution before we start formal action. Sometimes, the problem can be solved by an altering the work or submitting a retrospective planning application.
If a solution is not possible or negotiation fails, we will consider the expediency of taking enforcement action. This is where we decide whether the case is sufficiently serious to justify taking further action.
In making that decision, we consider whether the matter complies with national and local planning policies. These set out how we assess the merits of all planning applications. One of the key issues is the severity of the impact on the neighbours and on the general environment
Will I hear what is happening?
When someone has requested an investigation we will keep them informed of the progress that has been made.
The legal process can take a long time so you may not hear from us as often as you might hope. We should update you after eight weeks and again after 26 weeks.
If a planning application has been submitted, you can see a summary of the application including its current status by using View planning applications and comment online.
Other construction issues
If your complaint is not planning related, the Council has created a Construction site issues guide for residents (PDF, 900KB), which provides information on the following:
- Party Wall Act
- building regulations
- asbestos issues
- construction and demolition noise and dust
- site safety
- light pollution
- public sewers