The following questions and answers are intended to explain how the Council uses its planning enforcement powers to protect amenity and ensure the right development takes place in an acceptable way. Included is information about when and what sort of planning enforcement action can be taken and how you can tell us about something you think is wrong.
Planning permission is needed for many types of development and changes in use of land or buildings. Permission is also required to erect many forms of advertisements and there are controls to protect Listed Buildings and preserved trees. When development or work takes place without permission, or not in line with a planning permission or condition placed on it, the Council has various legal powers to take what is called 'enforcement' action to remedy the problem. The Council attaches particular importance to planning enforcement to ensure that the amenity of all residents and businesses is properly protected.
The Council has a Local Enforcement Plan for planning which sets out how it prioritises the complaints it receives about unauthorised building work or uses of land, sets service standards for dealing with initial complaints, and provides information on how we process complaints and the range of enforcement options we have open to us. The Plan states that priority will be given to dealing with those complaints which relate to actions which cause the most harm and that the Council will usually seek to prosecute those who damage listed buildings or fell protected trees.
We also have an online Planning Enforcement Register containing details of enforcement notices the Council has served.
You can appeal against an enforcement notice if you own, rent or lawfully occupy the property or land it applies to - please see the Government's website on enforcement appeals.
If you have any suggestions or complaints about our enforcement work please let us know.