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Planning Enforcement

The Planning Enforcement Team investigates alleged breaches of planning control such as building work taking place without planning permission or properties being used for business or other uses where the necessary planning permission has not been granted. The Team also investigates other offences under planning law such as the unauthorised display of advertisements or unauthorised works to a listed building or protected tree.
In all cases where a breach of planning control is identified we will consider the harm being caused by the breach and how it could best be remedied. Sometimes we are informed of matters that may not be in the public interest to investigate further. 


Many enforcement cases are resolved by negotiation and on some occasions retrospective planning permission is sought and obtained. However if a negotiated resolution cannot be achieved, the Council has a range of statutory powers to enforce planning control, up to and including notices requiring the demolition or removal of unauthorised development or the cessation of an unauthorised use.

There are various criminal offences under planning law, these include:
  • non-compliance with a range of notices;
  • carrying out unauthorised works to a listed building;
  • the unauthorised demolition of a building in a conservation area;
  • the unauthorised display of advertisements; or 
  • causing damage to or felling a protected tree.

The Council’s Planning Committee will normally consider and make decisions on whether planning enforcement notices should be served or prosecutions initiated. However, the Committee has delegated authority to the Head of Planning to initiate action in the following cases:  

  • where there is an immediate risk to the environment, property or public safety;
  • a direct offence in relation to advertisement control, Tree Preservation Orders, Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings; and
  • prosecution for non-compliance with a Planning Contravention Notice or Submission Notice.

Can I Report A Possible Breach of Planning Control?

While the Planning Enforcement Team may be aware of breaches of planning control, there is also a role for the public in alerting the Council to unauthorised development. You can write, email or telephone us using the contact details provided below. You will need to provide information in relation to:
  • the location of the alleged breach;
  • a description of the development, works or other activities that constitute the alleged breach;
  • the person or business suspected of carrying out the breach (if known); and
  • any other information that may help with our investigation.
You may wish to complete our planning enforcement form to record these details; this can be downloaded below and then emailed or posted to us.

You do not have to provide your name and contact details unless you want to be informed of the outcome of the investigation. If you do provide these details, the Council will protect your identity in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the Data Protection Act 2018. We may, however, be asked to disclose your details if the case goes to court, in such cases we will contact you in advance to provide advice in relation to this matter.

Enforcement Complaint Form

What If Someone Complains About My Development?

We will visit the site to ascertain whether a breach of planning control has occurred and we will seek to contact you to discuss the matter. If you receive any communication from us regarding an alleged breach of planning control you are advised to:
  • Stop work on site immediately;
  • Telephone us to discuss an appropriate course of action;
  • Respond promptly to any request for additional information; and
  • Comply with any further requirements detailed in our communication.
Please note that we will not tell you the name of the complainant as this information is protected by the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Useful Contacts

Planning Section

Mossley Mill,
Carnmoney Road North,
BT36 5QA

Tel: 0300 123 6677

Email Planning Section

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