Planning Application Guide

Compliance / Enforcement


We have a dedicated web page for Breach of Planning Control with all the information and online form for you to report any breaches of planning. 


Common Enforcement FAQs

If you suspect that someone is building, making alterations, or using land or buildings without planning permission:



You do not need planning permission to build a fence, wall or gate provided that it is no more than 1 metre high if it is next to a highway used by vehicles, or 2 metres high elsewhere. You do not usually need planning permission to plant a hedge unless your property is affected by a specific planning condition imposed on a planning permission, in which case you can apply to have the condition removed.

If you live in a conservation area, or the property is listed or affected by any planning conditions you should email us at

All complaints made to us about planning enforcement matters are confidential and are not divulged to the subject of the complaint. In some circumstances your details may however be divulged to other Council departments (for example Environmental Protection, Building Control, Highways) if they have powers to assist in investigating your complaint. If a complaint is made about a case that proceeds as far as appeal or prosecution proceedings, evidence may be required from you to increase the chances of a positive result, but you would be contacted about this beforehand to enable you to consider your position.

Anonymous complaints will not normally be investigated unless it is considered to give rise to a serious planning harm. This is to ensure that public resources are not spent unnecessarily investigating hoax or malicious service request. It is also important that, should legal action become necessary in relation to a complaint, the Council can state in court that the matter was reported by a local resident.

Please note that enforcement matters can take a substantial length of time to resolve due to the procedure that must be followed and the volume of cases we receive.

The complainant will be updated periodically by email or letter when a key decision is taken.

Full information on the process can be found on:

enforcement statement

We prioritise each case based on the nature of the issue as detailed within our Enforcement statement, we aim to visit the site within the prescribed times scales.

It is necessary to prioritise complaints in terms of impact and harm. Therefore the most urgent cases will be visited first. Once it has been established that a breach of control has or has not taken place the enforcement officer dealing with the case will inform you by email. The enforcement team will inform you of the result of any action when the investigation is completed. You will only be updated periodically by email or letter when a key decision is taken.

It should be remembered that the carrying out of development without planning permission is not a criminal offence and it can take considerable time to remedy a breach of planning control. However the enforcement team will attempt to resolve breaches of planning control as expediently as possible within the constraints of the existing legislation.

You can view the process for an enforcement complaint on the following webpage:

enforcement statement

The information submitted to us forming part of a complaint is considered to be personal data, which is therefore exempt from the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (As Amended) and does not have to be disclosed by us. The only details which are revealed are the nature of the complaint made, i.e. wall built without planning permission.

Our Building Control Section can grant Building Regulations Approval for a development if it complies with Building Regulations. This is NOT a grant of Planning Permission. Building regulations and planning permission are entirely separate matters and are governed by completely different legislation. In many cases planning permission will also be required and would need to be applied for separately.

There is a right of appeal against most planning enforcement notices and this, in addition to the work that is required to properly investigate some cases, means that the process of resolving a breach of planning control can take a long time. We recognise how frustrating this delay can be and will try to keep complainants informed at the key stages but it is important to understand that it is necessary for us to go through the procedures and requirements of the planning legal system.

Please visit the following page:

breach of planning

Please visit our dedicate page for full information:

enforcement statement

In most cases we'll attempt to resolve the breach through negotiation as we must give landowners a reasonable opportunity to 'right' the situation.

Where negotiations have failed or negotiation is not an option, we then have to consider if formal action is expedient in the wider public interest.

Planning Enforcement is a discretionary power which we'll only use if we can demonstrate that the breach causes serious harm to public amenity or the environment. What action is taken will be dependent on the seriousness of the harm.

It's important to note that not all breaches of planning control will result in enforcement action being taken, particularly if there's no firm evidence that the breach 'harms' public amenity or the environment.

Full information can be found on our dedicated page:

enforcement statement

Enforcement action must be taken within 4 years in relation to operational development such as the erection of buildings, and within 10 years in relation to changes of use (unless it relates to the change of use to a dwelling), and breaches of conditions. There is no time limit for the enforcement of breaches of listed building legislation.

Full information can be found on our dedicated page:

enforcement statement

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