Enforcing planning rules
Planning enforcement continues and we will conduct site visits where it is safe to do so. We will take a pragmatic approach to some developments which are undertaken purely to cope with the impact of COVID-19. Please note that planning legislation provides flexibility to Local Planning Authorities in terms of when formal intervention can be made and so any delays at the initial investigation stage will not ultimately affect the outcome of an investigation or any formal enforcement action taken
If someone does not get planning permission for a development or comply with the details of planning permission this is known as a planning breach.
We can take action to deal with cases of development that have been carried out without permitted development rights or planning permission; unauthorised adverts; tree protection issues; and non-compliance with conditions attached to planning approvals.
If you are concerned about a development near you which you think does not have planning permission, you can tell us about it by submitting a planning enforcement complaint.
We investigate complaints inline with our Local Enforcement Plan.
While we will be happy to discuss your query over the telephone please be aware that we do require all complaints to be submitted in writing in order for us to investigate them.
Please note that we do not accept anonymous complaints. All reports must be accompanied by details of the person making the report. When reporting a planning enforcement matter to us, we will need the following information:
- Your name, address and telephone number and/or email address
- The address or location in question
- A full description of the problem (please provide as much detail as possible)
We will keep your details confidential and they will not be disclosed to any third party without your permission. Alternatively, you can report the matter to your borough Councillor, or parish/town council.
- Take no action
- Ask for a retrospective application for planning permission
- Attempt to negotiate a solution
- Issue an Enforcement Notice directing what must be done and by when
- Prosecute the offender(s) in the Magistrates’ Court (in some cases)
Untidy and poorly maintained gardens and buildings may have a negative impact on neighbourhoods and the appearance of an area. The council have legal powers available to control the tidiness/appearance of land and buildings, but we would first attempt to reach a resolution with the landowner. If a resolution cannot be achieved we may take enforcement action through an Untidy Site Notice (Section 215 notice). The Untidy Site Notice requires proper maintenance of the property or land in question and would specify what steps need to be taken, by whom, and by when.
An appeal may be lodged against the Untidy Site Notice to the Magistrates’ court, but you will still have to follow the steps specified in the mean time as non-compliance with the Notice is a criminal offence.
You can report untidy land or neglected buildings here.
An enforcement notice is a legal document that can be served on people who have built something without the required permissions. We can serve an enforcement notice on you if we consider you have broken planning rules. Normally this will be because we consider what you are doing, or have done, is harmful to your neighbourhood.
A notice could:
- Stop or prevent an activity
- Request the removal of an unauthorised building or extension
- Ask for a development to be changed to make it more acceptable
Anyone receiving an enforcement notice can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.
Under section 74B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 you can now apply for urgent changes to construction working hours. This is to support safe construction working in line with the government’s latest social distancing guidance on construction and other outdoor work. You can find more information here.
Local authorities have 14 calendar days to consider such applications. If an application is approved, this will temporarily amend planning restrictions on construction working hours until 1 April 2021. An earlier end date may be requested by the applicant or decided by the local planning authority with the agreement of the applicant. Requests to extend the hours of construction will only be refused where there are very compelling reasons to do so as set out in the Written Ministerial Statement.
If the local planning authority does not determine the application within 14 days (excluding public holidays), the revised working hours are deemed to have been consented to and construction can take place in accordance with these new hours.
Applications under section 74B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 should be sent to:
Please put 'Section 74B Application' in the subject of the email to aid identification of these requests.
Members of the public should also send any queries regarding the extension of construction working hours to the above email address.