Report a breach of planning

How to complain

If you think a development has been or is being carried out without planning permission or permitted development rights then report it below.

Report suspected breach
Your details will remain confidential.

Please note: We only deal with enforcement control for mineral and waste issues and our own developments such as schools, fire stations and libraries. If your complaint is about household planning breaches or other areas we do not deal with, please get in touch with your local district, boroughor city council.

What happens next?

We have a duty to investigate all complaints and will:

  • Acknowledge written complaints within 3 or 4 working days (provided that you have sent us your contact details). Anonymous complaints will be given lower priority.
  • Record the complaint in the council's register of complaints and enforcement cases.
  • Assess its priority in relation to the impact of the activity on the environment and on residential amenity.
  • Visit the site to confirm the problem, generally within 10 days of receiving the complaint.
  • Liaise with the relevant district council and other agencies, where appropriate.
  • Inform the Planning Committee about problems of planning control within the county.
  • Inform individual county councillors about problems affecting their area.

Initially we will try to resolve the problem by negotiation with the operator. Most operators do not set out to break the rules but do so by mistake and may be happy to negotiate and/or to submit a planning application to try to regularise the activity.

When do we take action?

It is at our discretion whether we pursue enforcement action or not. Whilst negotiation will resolve some cases, some may require further action in order to resolve the problem. This depends on whether the breach has an unacceptable effect on public amenities and the existing use of land and/or buildings.

The enforcement action we take must be appropriate to the type and severity of the breach of planning control. It is not usually appropriate to take formal enforcement action against a trivial or technical breach of control that causes no harm to amenity in the locality of the site. If inappropriate action is taken we may be liable to a claim of compensation by the operator.

What action can we take?

  • We may issue a Planning Contravention Notice if we require information about activities on the land, or the nature of the operator's interest in the land. The recipient of this notice is legally required to provide this information within a specific timescale.
  • We may issue a Breach of Condition Notice if an operator is not complying with a condition on their planning permission. There is no right of appeal against this notice and failure to comply with it is a criminal offence.
  • We may issue an Enforcement Notice, which requires an operator to rectify the problem. This notice does not become valid until 28 days from issue and there is a right of appeal against this notice by the operator.

If the problem is particularly severe, we can issue either a Temporary Stop Notice or a Stop Notice to immediately stop the activity. A Temporary Stop Notice takes effect immediately, lasts for a period of 28 days and there is no right of appeal against it. The Stop Notice is issued with an Enforcement Notice, is not valid until 28 days from issue and the operator has the right of appeal. Both types are only issued if there is immediate harm to the environment or amenity and failure to comply with them can result in prosecution

As a last resort we may take out an Injunction through the courts to stop someone carrying out an activity. If the person on whom the injunction is served breaches it, they will be in contempt of court.

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