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Planning enforcement charter

Planning enforcement

What we investigate

The Planning Enforcement Team will investigate the following enquires about alleged breaches of planning control

  • work being carried out without planning permission or listed building consent
  • unauthorised change of use of land of buildings
  • not following conditions attached to a planning permission already granted
  • not complying with approved drawings and plans on a planning permission
  • works to trees that are protected by a Tree Preservation Order or within a Conservation Area.
  • unauthorised advertisements

There will be cases where the work that has been carried out is permitted development because of its size and position and does not require planning permission in the first place. It is also not always the case that works to a listed building need consent if that work does not affect its character. In addition, there are many situations where running a business from a house does not require permission. You can get further guidance on these matters by contacting the Planning Service.

Time limits for enforcement action

Where breaches are identified we have statutory time limits in which we can pursue enforcement action. This means that where a breach has been in place for a number of years the council is prevented from taking action. It is deemed to be lawful. The relevant time limits are:

A four year limit – this applies to “operational development” (the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land) and change of use to a single dwellinghouse. After four years following the breach of planning control, no enforcement action can be taken.

A ten year limit – this applies to all other development including a change of use (other than to a single dwellinghouse) and breaches of condition. After ten years, no enforcement action can be taken.

What we will not investigate

There are a number of matters that we will not investigate because they are legal or civil matters or can be dealt with by other services within the council (in which case we will forward the enquiry to the relevant service to investigate).

  • land ownership disputes
  • enforcement of conditions on title deeds
  • general maintenance of land - this includes maintenance of open space within housing developments
  • clearing land of trees and shrubs (unless protected or in Conservation Area)
  • untidy land/Fly tipping and abandoned vehicles
  • health and safety matters/site working practices
  • construction working hours
  • content of an advertisement
  • parking on Public Road/blocking driveways
  • unsafe structure/buildings
  • light/noise/odour complaints (unless covered by a planning condition)
  • any development on Council owned land including works to Council houses
  • a prediction that something might happen

Anonymous complaints

Anonymous complaints about suspected breaches of planning control will generally not be investigated. Only in exceptional circumstances will anonymous complaints be investigated where the breach would lead to serious harm to public amenity or public safety,

Service standard

By publishing our standards and targets, we aim to improve our enforcement service so we respond to the needs of our customers. We will monitor this charter to make sure that we are meeting standards and targets.