Report a planning breach

Sometimes development is carried out without the required planning permission or without following the details and conditions given by the council. We enforce planning to ensure that works don’t ruin the look and safety of an area and its community.

Planning enforcement will be considered for:

  • unauthorised display of advertisements
  • unauthorised work on protected trees
  • unauthorised work on listed buildings
  • unauthorised demolition of some buildings within a conservation area
  • unauthorised storage of hazardous materials
  • removal of protected hedgerows
  • allowing land to fall into such poor condition that it harms the quality of the area
  • harm to a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI).

We will not investigate:

  • boundary disputes
  • neighbour disputes
  • legal covenants
  • damage to property
  • devaluation to property
  • unsafe structures
  • trespass
  • neighbour lifestyle clashes
  • graffiti and anti-social behaviour
  • parking disputes
  • cars for sale on the public highway.

Independent legal advice should be sought to resolve these issues.

How enforcement is prioritised

Many people do not realise that enforcement powers are discretionary, to be used only when needed. Unacceptable development will not be tolerated.

To best use the limited resources currently available, when a breach of planning is reported, a desk-top assessment will be carried out. This will look at the level of harm that the potential unauthorised development may be causing in planning terms. 

If the harm is not considered to be significant and it is unlikely that formal enforcement action would be pursued, then an enforcement case will not be set up and an investigation will not be undertaken.

The Planning Service deals with a significant number of cases investigating alleged breaches of planning control and pursuing formal enforcement action where necessary. This workload is on the increase and this means we need to prioritise cases accordingly.

Before you report a planning breach

If you want to report a breach of planning control we suggest that you first:

How to report a breach

You can report a breach, to do this, you'll need:

  • the address of the breach
  • type of breach such as erection of a building or structure, advertisement or change of use
  • your name and address
  • a detailed description of the breach.

Report a planning breach online

Details of who is reporting a breach are kept confidential. We'll tell you the outcome once we've looked into it.

View the planning enforcement policy.

Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) include our most spectacular habitats, and each has a management plan and requires consent before works are carried out.

It's a criminal offence to harm a Site of Specific Scientific Interest and can result in a fine of up to £20,000 or, on conviction, an unlimited fine.

Search for a Site of Specific Scientific Interest

How we use your data

When you use our planning services, some of your data may be used to enforce planning breaches. 

You can find out what data we may use and what your data could be used for in our planning enforcement privacy policy.