Report a planning breach
Before you ask us to investigate any possible breaches of planning, make sure to check the following.
- The Planning Portal website for up-to-date information about what requires planning permission.
- Visit Public Access to check if the property has had planning permission, or if it has conditions attached, before asking us to investigate any possible breaches.
At all stages in the enforcement process, the knowledge and information held by members of the general public and residents' groups can supplement the council's official records and site inspections.
When reporting a potential breach of planning, it's helpful to provide as much information as possible about the current and previous situation, for example:
- the exact address
- when activities started
- the nature of the building works
- the use of the building
- the name or addresses of known owners or other persons responsible
What happens next?
We will investigate and decide what we need to do. In some cases there may not have been a breach so we do not need to do anything. We try and resolve as many breaches as possible by talking with the land or property owner. We may ask the landowner to submit a planning application for the development. Where this is not possible we may issue an enforcement notice which could eventually lead to prosecution.
It can take several months to resolve a case.
How we investigate an alleged breach once received
- Cases are prioritised by the level of urgency. Further information is available in our local enforcement plan.
- The planning enforcement officer carries out an initial investigation, which usually involves background research and a site visit.
- Following the initial investigation, we decide what further action (if any) needs to be taken.
- The nature of planning enforcement investigations means you may not get an update from the council for some time.