Planning enforcement

Planning enforcement deal with and investigate any alleged reported breaches of planning.


What is a planning breach?

A breach in planning is when any work is done without the right planning permission; or doesn’t meet conditions we’ve set when planning permission was agreed.

More information on what is a planning breach

Planning Enforcement and Direct Action Policy

A new Planning Enforcement Policy has been developed to give clear and transparent guidance on how the Council will deal with planning breaches.

Our Planning Enforcement Policy and Direct Action Policy details the main issues surrounding Planning Enforcement and the challenges faced. It also includes information about how to make your planning enforcement complaint, what can be investigated  and what you can expect from the service.

Additionally, the policy also provides guidance on how we will use ‘direct action’ to resolve long-standing planning breaches. Where appropriate, we will be able to enter land to correct a breach and this could involve demolition of unlawful structures.

In these instances the Council will seek to recover any costs incurred from the responsible parties. The option of this direct action will be used alongside prosecution and/or injunctions to resolve enforcement cases in a timely manner.

You can find out more about the new policy by looking at the Policy Document and to the process map which shows the Council’s approach to dealing with enforcement enquiries.


How to report a potential planning breach to us


The simplest way to report a potential planning breach is by completing an online complaint form


You can report a potential planning problem by emailing us. You can send in information, photographs or other attachments. Please submit full details of your complaint along with your name, address and contact to


You can post details of a potential planning breach (using this method will mean it will take longer for your report to get to us)

Planning Enforcement

Lynton House - 11th Floor Front,

255-259 High Road



We don’t accept telephone or anonymous reports.


What to include in your report to us

Anyone reporting a planning breach will be kept anonymous however, all reports must include:

  • date
  • your name and postal address
  • the address of the potential breach
  • what work/activities are taking place
  • when activities or building works started
  • names and contact details of the owners or other people involved

We will take your report seriously and we will keep you informed of progress.

What can/can't the planning enforcement team investigate?

What Planning Enforcement can investigate

What Planning Enforcement cannot investigate

Development consisting the change of use of land/buildings without planning consent

Boundary wall disputes and other land ownership issues

 Works to Listed Buildings without consent

Legal covenants

Any activity giving rise to direct or indirect damage to protected trees or qualifying trees in conservation areas*

Devaluation of property

Non-compliance with conditions attached to planning permissions

Obstructions, parking and traffic*

Unauthorised building works and/or engineering works

Graffiti and anti-social behaviour*

Neglect to land or buildings which harm local amenity

Unsafe structures*

Display of unlawful advertisements


* trees over 75mm in diameter measured at a height of 1.5 metres from ground level are protected

*we may be able to deal with these matters using other powers including highways, anti-social behaviour and building regulations legislation.

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