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What we do

Planning enforcement is an important part of the planning process when protecting the environment.

It is not always a criminal offence to carry out development without planning permission, but it may be a breach of planning law. The Council has the power to enforce that law. 

Planning law can be very complicated so this page is only a guide to the enforcement procedures and the powers of the Council.

The Council sees enforcement action as a crucial part of controlling development. All reports of possible breaches of planning control are taken seriously and are investigated as quickly as possible. This is in accordance with a priority system.

Examples of breaches of Planning Control

  • certain changes of use of land or buildings e.g. from a house to a shop
  • the carrying out of development not in accordance with the approved plan(s)
  • not complying with conditions of a planning permission
  • the erection of certain buildings without permission

Please note that within residential gardens, there are certain rights to erect small buildings and extensions without planning permission. This is known as 'permitted development'. For further information, visit Planning Portal's website.

Examples of breaches of Planning Control, that involve a criminal offence and may result in prosecution

  • carrying out works to a listed building without listed building consent
  • displaying certain signs or advertisements without advertisement consent
  • works to a tree subject to a Tree Preservation Order or a mature tree in a Conservation Area

What is not considered a breach of Planning Control?

  • land ownership or boundary disputes
  • parking of commercial vehicles on the highway in residential areas or on grass verges
  • operating a business from home where the residential use remains the main use and there is no major impact on residential neighbours
  • parking a caravan within the garden of a house, provided it is being used for a purpose associated with the main house. This means it is being stored or used as another room
  • clearing land of undergrowth, bushes and trees (provided they are not protected, not within a Conservation Area or protected by a planning condition)


Do you need help with some of the terms on this page?