Our Planning Enforcement team investigates all alleged breaches of planning control to determine if a breach has occurred and what action, if any, is required.
To help us do this we have produced our Local Enforcement Plan, which was adopted in 2016.
This sets out the powers available to us to deal with breaches of planning control and at what point we will take action. The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework makes it clear that councils are expected to act proportionately when responding to any breaches.
What is a breach of planning control?
Breaches of planning control include:
• Unauthorised works to listed buildings
• Unauthorised works to trees with a tree preservation order (TPO) or in a Conservation Area
• Breaches of planning conditions
• Land or premises which have become an eyesore
• Failure to comply with a s106 agreement
• Deliberately hiding unauthorised building works or change of uses
• Removal of protected hedgerows
• Not building in accordance with the approved plans that form part of a planning permission
• Unauthorised engineering operations, such as raising of ground levels or earth bunds
What isn’t a breach of planning control?
Issues not considered breaches include land ownership or trespass issues, any work allowed under permitted development rights and parking vehicles on the highway or grass verge.
More information is available in our Local Enforcement Plan.
When dealing with breaches of planning control, there are a number of notices we can use:
Requisition Notice (S.330 Town and Country Planning Act 1990)
This is a warning that enforcement action is being considered. It asks for details to be submitted such as who owns the land, what it is being used for and when work began. It is an offence to ignore a Requisition Notice or to knowingly give wrong information.
Planning Contravention Notice (S.171c Town and Country Planning Act 1990)
This is used to gather more information when there appears to have been a breach of planning control. It asks detailed questions about the land and activities carried out and is sent to the owner, occupier or user of the land. It must be replied to within 21 days, although more time to reply may be requested. It is an offence to ignore a Contravention Notice or to knowingly give wrong information.
Breach of Condition Notice (S.187a Town and Country Planning Act 1990)
This is issued when conditions relating to planning permission have been breached and are causing a problem. It sets out what must be done to comply with the conditions. It is an offence to ignore a Breach of Condition Notice and you cannot appeal against it.
Enforcement Notice (S.172 Town and Country Planning Act 1990)
This is issued when there has been a breach of planning control, either because conditions relating to planning permission have been breached or because no planning permission has been granted. The notice comes into effect not less than 28 days after it is issued. It sets out what must be done to remedy the breach and when it must be done by. It is an offence to ignore an Enforcement Notice, but you can appeal against it. If you appeal, the notice will not take effect until the appeal has been dealt with.
Stop Notice (S.183 Town and Country Planning Act 1990)
This can only be used after an Enforcement Notice has been served. It stops unauthorised activities immediately, before the Enforcement Notice comes into effect. It is an offence to ignore a Stop Notice or to help someone ignore a Stop Notice, but you may be entitled to compensation if the Stop Notice is unreasonable and it causes you loss or damage.
Injunction (S.187b Town and Country Planning Act 1990)
An injunction is a court order designed to stop a person from breaching planning control and is used as an urgent measure. Injunctions are different from other enforcement tools as they relate to people and not land. The Council can apply for an injunction whether or not it has served any other notice.