Planning enforcement

What if I carry out unauthorised development?

If you carry out unauthorised development in the district, we will contact you as soon as we become aware of it.

We will try to work with you to resolve the problem and ensure you understand what you are required to do and why and explain the enforcement process. You will be encouraged to discuss the matter with officers and given advice on whether planning permission is likely to be granted for the development.

The majority of the enforcement investigations are resolved without the need for formal enforcement action.

What to expect if formal enforcement action is taken

Depending upon the circumstances formal action may sometimes be necessary.

Where it is necessary to take enforcement action we will write to the owner, occupier or developer about the course of action to be pursued, setting out the type of action to be taken.

The advice will include what rights of appeal are applicable and the penalties for non- compliance.

Where it is necessary to serve formal enforcement notices, the content of the notice will clearly state what is required and why action is being taken.

Information will also be given on how to make an appeal against the issuing of the notice.

When do we prosecute?

Failure to comply with any requirement of a statutory notice is a criminal offence.

We will always consider whether legal proceedings should be instigated in these circumstances.

The circumstances that warrant prosecution will normally be characterised by one of the following:

  • a flagrant breach of the law which has destroyed the fabric of a historic building or involved the removal of a protected tree.
  • a flagrant breach of law which is continuing to affect public amenity or the environment, for example where advertisements are displayed without advertisement consent, particularly in relation to where these are attached to listed buildings or in conservation areas.
  • failure to comply with enforcement notices and the offender has been given a reasonable opportunity to comply with its requirements.
  • where there is a history of similar offences related to the risk to the protection of the environment.